Better Dead Than Red: “BLOOD ALLEY” (1955)

         bloodalley8     There is no mistaking on which side of the political coin the 1955 William Wellman  film “Blood Alley” was stamped, as it is a right-wing, anti-Communist diatribe of the most unabashedly jingoistic variety, highlighting AsianbloodalleyOS characters in one-dimensional major roles that are usually criticized as being typically stereotypical portraits of native Chinese (many, but not all portrayed by non-Asians including the particularly ridiculous examples of Mike Mazursky and Anita Ekberg!), though the fact that most of these characters are intelligent, prone to self-sacrifice and resourceful seems to count for little in the relentless sniffing out for perceived politically incorrect ethnic insensitivity. The fact that the script by Albert Sidney Fleischman is as dumb as a leaky bag of doorknobs generates less offense as stupidity in the service of popular Art is of a far lesser order of offense (and far more expected) than any breach in the abstract standards directing any culture monitor’s self-righteous egoism. None of this would matter much and could be casually regarded as so much movie hokum if the plot itself weren’t so openly proud of being so irredeemably stupid, but such are the characteristics of the blacklist-safe dumbing down of global politics and foreign cultures by way of Hollywood under the Production Code.

      Taken on its own terms, “Blood Alley” plays more like a comic strip version of an action-adventure film- an amalgam of Terry and the Pirates and Scorchy Smith  -than as a serious statement concerning the oppressive fist of the Red Menace bearing down on hapless innocents, as the Communist antagonists simply seem too easily fooled and blind to obvious anti-authoritarian stratagems to be seriously regarded as much of a serious threat. In fact, without the constant reminder of Roy Webb’sbloodalley4 often bombastic scoring, it would be easy to forget that there any oppressive forces within throwing distance. (The commies represented by approaching and dispatching landing boats filled with well groomed soldiers and troops marching up the picturesque staircase of the Chiku Shan setting in precise unison; no doubt meant to set up a visual dichotomy between the inhumane order of Communism as opposed to the more ramshackle, disordered climate of the villagers who are represented in terms of genuine Salt of the Earth peasant-class Hollywood humanism in that they always have a convenient number of chickens they cart along with them.)

To read the complete review, click the following link to:


About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in 1950's movies, China, Film, Film Reviews, John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.