711 Ocean Drive Representative of the Fifties
711 Ocean Drive film was produced by Frank N. Seltzer and released in 1950. The script was produced by Richard English and Francis Swan. The film was directed by Joseph Newman. It is pure, quintessential Fifties crime drama, and stars Edmond O’Brien, Joanne Dru, Otto Kruger, Barry Kelley and Dorothy Patrick.
Like the film itself, any discussion regarding this story line needs to start with a look at the reality of life at the time the film was made. It starts with a title-card that bluntly explains that due to disclosures made during the film, powerful underworld interests had attempted to stop production with intimidatory tactics. This not only set the tone for the audience, but was actually true, and film’s producer really had testified before the Senate Crime Investigating Committee to that effect.
Unique Aspects to the Film
In deciding to name the film 711 Ocean Drive, Frank Seltzer may have already pulled a punch or two, because the address is merely where the protagonist, Mal Granger, grows up and has no bearing on the plot at all. The working title of the production was Blood Money. Mal Granger started out nothing special, a telephone company lineman who loved betting and wagering on outsiders, and therefore lost most of his money. His bookie, Chippie Evans, persuades him to take a job at the local bookies’ racing wire service, using his knowledge of electronics. Mal begins working for Vince Walters, the owner of the service. The controversial aspect to the film, and extremely far-sighted in terms of the power of technology, is what this racing wire service did. It was the system used to convey the results of horseraces to the bookies directly from all the various tracks. Walters sees the value of expanding this service and offers Granger a good salary implement this plan.
The Plot Develops Smoothly
Granger keeps refining the wire service eventually becomes indispensable and is able to force Walters into making him a partner. In a sharp turn of events, Walters gets killed by an angry bookie and Granger ends up taking over. With the help of the romantic interest, Walters’ assistant Trudy, Granger goes ahead with the expansion, which attracts the attention of the mob. Once this happens Granger is drawn into a web of racketeering, intrigue, backstabbing and infidelity. Ruthlessly the film progresses towards its conclusion, the memorable recognised ending that was film on location at Boulder Dam, now the Hoover Dam. This film was also representative of the Fifties moralistic storyline expectations.
Notable Aspects to the Film
711 Ocean Drive is a reasonably good run-of-the-mill Fifties crime drama, notable by the climax on Hoover Dam. The star, Edmond O’Brien showed glimpses of why he would go on to earn an Oscar. The black and white format is expertly utilised by Franz Planer, the photographer, which is another noteworthy aspect to the film. A memorable quote from the film is Mal Granger explaining that ‘time wounds all heels’. The rationale for preventing the film crew from shooting in Palm Springs and Las Vegas was deemed to be that the mob were displeased by the film’s depiction of the racing wire service and how it could be manipulated to suit some more than others. Seltzer always complained that he had to spend vast additional amounts to construct stage productions and that the crew needed protection from the Los Angeles police gangster squad.