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Ruthless

Released Apr 16, 1948 1h 44m Drama List
100% Tomatometer 5 Reviews 43% Audience Score 50+ Ratings Wealthy, powerful Horace Vendig (Zachary Scott) always gets what he wants. Even as a poor youth, he charmed his way into high society by getting the father of his friend, Martha (Diana Lynn), to foot the bill for his Harvard education. When Vic (Louis Hayward), another childhood pal, is invited to Vendig's mansion for a party, he brings along Mallory Flagg (also Lynn), who happens to bear a striking resemblance to Martha. As Vic and Horace reunite, old resentments rise to the surface. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (5) Critics Reviews
Richard Brody New Yorker Ulmer's approach is monumental and detailed, baroquely gestural and coldly violent. Jan 6, 2014 Full Review Joanne Laurier World Socialist Web Site Ulmer's visually concise film passes moral judgment on relentless ambition and greed, and is irreconcilably opposed to those who destroy for profit. Feb 28, 2021 Full Review TV Guide A compelling gothic melodrama that charts in flashback the life and career of a hard-hearted tycoon, played to the hilt by perennial screen-heel Zachary Scott. Rated: 3/5 Oct 21, 2015 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews A masterful trashy Gothic B-film character-story melodrama directed with vigor by the noted cult filmmaker of cheapie films from Poverty Row, Edgar G. Ulmer. Rated: B+ Mar 5, 2015 Full Review Michael E. Grost Classic Film and Television Complex, richly directed tale of a millionaire's rise to power and those he exploits. Jul 6, 2010 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (12) audience reviews
nick s The movie had a few flat patches in the opening half where my interest started to wane. There was no clear direction to the story. But it did pick up in the second half. The acting and character building was great. The production was not riveting but it was enjoyable all the same. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 06/21/24 Full Review Steve D Greenstreet gives it a entertaining spark Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/20/24 Full Review Audience Member A mashup of Citizen Kane and The Bad and the Beautiful, this was pretty disappointing. The main character was contemptible all the way through, but there was something missing- like a clear story line. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/14/23 Full Review Audience Member I really enjoyed this RUTHLESS film...HAHAHA!!!! Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/22/23 Full Review Audience Member About as edgy as a melodrama can get. It's not a bad story to follow, nor is it an invigorating one. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review Audience Member The message at the center of "Ruthless" may seem dated and unoriginal given how much time has passed since its making, but it's still just as relevant. Films chronicling the rise and fall of men addicted to money and power are made often enough to make the whole concept seem tired and overdone, but despite this, "Ruthless" is still a solidly entertaining yet predictable drama. The biggest problem is Edward G. Ulmer, who has never been a director that I can trust to produce a good motion picture, and once again, his direction is almost entirely responsible for the slow pace that "Ruthless" moves at. Of course, there are times where the pace picks up and things get interesting, but it isn't long before Ulmer returns back to his stationary, monotonous routine. There are some performances that are effective, such as Zachary Scott's slimy Horace Vendig and Louis Hayward as the best friend, and then there are some that aren't, such as Sydney Greenstreet's Buck Mansfield, which is a performance that the actor seems like he's sleeping through half of the time. Overall, "Ruthless" is not an especially memorable or well-crafted motion picture, but it works because of its cleverly-structured screenplay, lead performances and important message. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/16/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Ruthless

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis Wealthy, powerful Horace Vendig (Zachary Scott) always gets what he wants. Even as a poor youth, he charmed his way into high society by getting the father of his friend, Martha (Diana Lynn), to foot the bill for his Harvard education. When Vic (Louis Hayward), another childhood pal, is invited to Vendig's mansion for a party, he brings along Mallory Flagg (also Lynn), who happens to bear a striking resemblance to Martha. As Vic and Horace reunite, old resentments rise to the surface.
Director
Edgar G. Ulmer
Producer
Arthur S. Lyons
Screenwriter
Dayton Stoddart, Alvah Bessie, S.K. Lauren, Gordon Kahn
Production Co
Eagle-Lion Films Inc.
Genre
Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Apr 16, 1948, Original
Release Date (DVD)
Sep 11, 2007
Runtime
1h 44m