Ruthless (1948)

ruthless 1948

If you’re in the mood for a good drama with a top cast check this out. It probably says “Suitable Only For Adults” because it’s a mature story about a stock broker who stops at nothing and steps on everyone to get a fortune. Nothing R or X about it just a good, adult story.

Horace Woodruff Vendig (Zachary Scott) is having a huge dinner and dance at his multi-million dollar home. He’s donating the place to the UN and the State Department to use to further world peace. Also there by invitation is his friend from boyhood Vic Lambin (Louis Hayward). He’s with classical pianist Mallory Flagg (Diana Lynn). She’s a double for  his former fiancee Martha Burnside. She originally was with Vic but she was attracted to Horace all along.

Flashback: The three were in a canoe when Vic stood up and it tipped over. Horace saved Martha from drowning. He didn’t tell his mother what he did and she raises hell about him ruining his suit. Martha’s mother comes over to invite Horace to their house for a party the next night. Horace’s  mother isn’t impressed and doesn’t want him going. She’s bitter since her husband lost their wealth and social position by drinking and gambling. He lives in a dump now with a woman named Belle.

It’s been two years since Horace has seen him and since he’s upset with his mother goes to the waterfront so see him. Pete Vendig (Raymond Burr) comes in after winning fifty-eight dollars. He gives half to Horace. Belle takes it back saying it’s owed her for back rent. Horace goes home and sees his mother on the couch with a man who wants her to go away with him. Children aren’t welcome.

Horace goes to the Burnside house and they take him in. The years go by and he’s working for an insurance firm while Vic is in college. Martha (Diana Lynn) finally admits to Horace that he’s the one she’s wanted all along. Vic takes it like a trouper. Martha’s father (Dennis Hoey) is all for their engagement and stakes Horace to an education at Harvard.

At Harvard, Horace becomes attracted to his rich friends’ sister Susan. He breaks a date with Martha to go to her home where he meets some top businessmen. He ends up getting a job at a New York securities firm. He also becomes engaged to Susan. He tells Martha he’s going to New York and can’t take her with him. He says it’s the job. No mention of Susan.

Back to the present: Horace dances with Mallory and then he and Vic run into Buck (Sydney Greenstreet) and Christa Mansfield. Buck is ready to kill Horace. Time for another flashback.

We learn what made Buck so bitter. That includes Horace taking Christa from him and marrying her. He uses her to bring Buck down. Five years later Vic,a wealthy and successful engineer, is back from South America. Horace and Christa are getting a divorce. Vic is angry that Horace has let a banker who helped him in the past sitting in the reception area for four days and refusing to see him. What happens now causes the huge rift between business partners and lifelong friends Horace and Vic.

Back to the present. Horace is about to leave on his yacht for a long trip. But first he makes the moves on Mallory.

It all may sound a bit soapie but Zachary Scott is so good along with the rest of the cast the movie doesn’t go there. This is one to see if you’re looking for a good adult drama.

Dennis Hoey is best known as Inspector Lestrade in the Sherlock Holmes movies.





About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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