Reviewed by DAVID VINEYARD:         

HAZARD. Paramount Pictures, 1948. Paulette Goddard, Macdonald Carey, Fred Clark, Stanley Clements, Percy Helton, Frank Faylen, Charles McGraw. Maxie Rosenbloom Screenplay by Arthur Sheekman and Roy Chanslor (his novel). Directed by George Marshall.

   Looking at that cast and those credits you can forgiven for thinking this must be a small missing gem you have somehow overlooked.

   I had fairly high hopes for this when I saw the cast and credits — for about fifteen minutes.

   Goddard is Ellen Crane, a spoiled rich girl with a gambling problem ever since the boy she was engaged to died in the war. Fred Clark is Lonnie, the owner of Club 7 who has a thing for her. She is into him for $5,000 and a hot check and he offers her a deal; high card wins and she is either clear or she marries him.

   She doesn’t draw the high card or there would be no plot. She skips town, but Lonnie hires skip tracer Storm (Macdonald Carey) to stop her starting a cross country race that leads to Chicago and Los Angeles, and then a road trip back as she and Storm connect. He even does a little cheap analysis proving she has been trying to lose her father’s money by compulsive gambling because she blames that for her boyfriend’s death.

   George Marshall was one of the masters of the comedic form, and the cast is uniformly good, but this is the flattest film you have ever had the bad luck to see. There is no spark between Goddard and Carey, the script is dishwater dull, and not even the character actors manage a bright moment.

   There isn’t a genuine laugh in the picture. There’s not a moment where the film ever rises above the level of one single note. Even a bit of action and rough stuff at the ending leaves the blood pressure low. When George Marshall can’t even choreograph a comedic fight you know things are bad.

   There is one single funny line, the last one in the film delivered by Frank Faylen to Fred Clark followed by Clark’s double take, but by then it is far too little too late. Skip this and take a nap instead. It will be more exciting — likely more laughs too.