Day 15 of Noirvember: Dan Brady in Quicksand (1950)

Today’s Noirvember post shines the spotlight on one unlucky fella, Dan Brady in Quicksand (1950).

The nightmare begins . . .


Garage mechanic Dan Brady (Mickey Rooney) wrangles a date with the sexy new cashier down at the local coffeeshop, but he discovers that he’s flat broke. He borrows $20 from the cash register at work, with plans to replace it the following morning when his pal repays a loan, but like the best-laid plans of mice and men, Dan’s plan goes awry – very much awry. Like a man who’s stepped into quicksand, the more Dan tries to extricate himself from his mounting troubles, the deeper he sinks.


We meet Dan in the aforementioned coffeeshop, where he’s lunching with his buddies, Buzz (Jimmie Dodd) and Chuck (Wally Cassell). In their brief conversation, we learn that Dan is not always the nicest guy to come down the pike – he’s been dodging his ex-girlfriend, Helen (Barbara Bates), who he dumped because she was getting too serious. (“I spent four years in the Navy fighting for freedom – why get anchored down now?”) Seconds later, when the new cashier, Vera (Jeanne Cagney), sashays into view, Dan says goodbye to his pals, telling them “I’ve got a little work to do” – and he ain’t talking about adjusting a carburetor. He instantly zeroes in on Vera, calling her “honey,” slyly winking at his friends as he turns on the charm, and completely unfazed when she snootily informs him that she “doesn’t come with the merchant’s lunch.” Dan pays her a compliment, suggests that they go see a popular local band, and he’s in like Flynn.

. . . and continues . . .


He completely fascinates me. He comes off like this suave, smooth-as-silk ladies’ man (and he must have something, because he certainly manages to get a date with Vera less than a minute after he meets her) – he sings in her ear, flirts shamelessly, and makes his first move before the date is halfway over. But he’s also a bit lacking in the common sense arena, and makes a series of decisions so egregious that you’ll practically find yourself yelling at him through your TV screen. But I’ll say one thing about Dan – he’s certainly not forgettable.


“I feel like I’m being shoved into a corner, and if I don’t get out soon, it’ll be too late. Maybe it’s too late already.”


Mickey Rooney was born Joe Yule, Jr., on September 23, 1920. His parents were vaudeville performers and he was part of his parents’ act until they split up when he was four years old and he wound up in Hollywood with his mother. Young Joe soon resumed his budding career, performing in a local revue, enrolling at Daddy Mack’s Dance Studio, and making his big screen debut in the 1926 silent feature Not to be Trusted. Two years later, he landed the role of Mickey McGuire in a series of comedies released by the Standard Film Corporation. He appeared in nearly 80 episodes between 1928 and 1932; during that time, his name was legally changed to Mickey McGuire, but it was later modified again to replace McGuire with Rooney. Under contract to MGM, Rooney was seen in a variety of films over the next several years, including Manhattan Melodrama (1934), Boys Town (1938), and National Velvet (1944), as well as the popular 15-episode Andy Hardy series, and several features in which he was teamed with Judy Garland. In 1939, 1940, and 1941, he was the biggest box office draw in Hollywood, but after serving in World War II, he found that he’d been dethroned as the “King of the Movies.” He severed his ties with MGM in the late 1940s and a couple of years later, he stepped into the world of film noir with Quicksand.

Join me in the shadows tomorrow for Day 16 of Noirvember!

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 15, 2021.

6 Responses to “Day 15 of Noirvember: Dan Brady in Quicksand (1950)”

  1. You just found one of the very few Noirs (maybe actually the only one) I don’t like, for purely subjective reasons. Mickey Rooney. I hate that little runt. One of the most unattractive men in Hollywood ever. I have a hard time understanding why he had such a big career, AND married Ava Gardner!

    I assume Quicksand would have worked for me had a different actor played Dan.
    But then, Barbara Bates (who I usually like) was very bland here and Jeanne Cagney didn’t work as a femme fatale either.
    For me all in all a dud. 🙂

    • Oh nooo! LOL. I’m not a huge fan of Mickey Rooney, but I do love him in this and in his 1954 noir Drive a Crooked Road. (I also like to have the Andy Hardy movies on in the background while I’m doing other stuff, for some reason!) I liked Jeanne Cagney a lot in this, but I didn’t think Barbara Bates was very good. I’ve only seen her in All About Eve and Cheaper By the Dozen — I liked her better in both of those.

  2. Love the energy Mickey brings to his roles.

    I’m beginning to think it is these movies that have kept me from becoming a criminal. After all, I like money as much as the next guy. Nah, it’s probably my innate laziness.

  3. I love, LOVE Mickey Rooney in this role. He’s great as someone watching his life spin out of control. Time to see this one again!

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