18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
VCI Entertainment and Kit Parker Films present "Hammer Film Noir Vol. 1" (1952) --- (Dolby digitally remastered)...Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe Hollywood crime dramas that set their protagonists in a world perceived as inherently corrupt and unsympathetic...Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s...Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography, while many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic noir derive from the hardboiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Depression...the term film noir (French for "black film"), first applied to Hollywood movies by French critic Nino Frank in 1946, was unknown to most of the American filmmakers and actors while they were creating the classic film noirs..the canon of film noir was defined in retrospect by film historians and critics; many of those involved in the making of film noir later professed to be unaware at the time of having created a distinctive type of film.
First up we have "BAD BLONDE" (1953) (81 min. B/W)...under director Reginald Le Borg , producer Anthony Hinds, book author Max Catto, screenplay by Guy Elmes and Richard H. Landau , music score by Ivor Slaney ...the cast includes Barbara Payton (Lorna Vecchi), Frederick Valk (Giuseppe Vecchi), John Slater (Charlie Sullivan), Sid James (Sharkey), Tony Wright (Johnny Flanagan), Marie Burke (Mother Vecchi), Selma Vaz Dias (Mrs. Corelli, Vecchi's sister), Enzo Coticchia (Mr. Corelli), George Woodbridge (Police Inspector), Bettina Dickson (Barmaid), John Brooking (Barnes) . . . . . our story based on a novel by Max Catto is very close to "The Postman Always Rings Twice", but this time the male lead is a boxer...Barbara Payton is blackmailing Tony Wright into killing her husband Frederick Valk, will he go through with it...only the final scene will tell, Valk is a scene stealer and gives it all he's worth.
1. Barbara Payton (aka: Barbara Lee Redfield)
Date of birth: 16 November 1927 - Cloquet, Minnesota
Date of death: 8 May 1967 - San Diego, California
2. Reginald Le Borg (Director)
Date of birth: 11 December 1902 - Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria)
Date of death: 25 March 1989 - Los Angeles, California
1. Scene selection
3. Photo gallery
4. Bonus comments: The World of Hammer Noir by Richard M. Roberts
Second on the double bill is a Lippert Picture release "MAN BAIT (1952) (84 min. B/W)....under director Terence Fisher, producer Anthony Hinds, screenplay by James Hadley Chase and Frederick Knott, musical score by Frank Spencer ....the cast includes George Brent (John Harman), Marguerite Chapman (Stella Tracy), Raymond Huntley Clive Oliver), Peter Reynolds (Jeffrey Hart), Diana Dors (Ruby Bruce), Eleanor Summerfield (Vi), Meredith Edwards (Inspector Dale), Harry Fowler (Joe, clerk), Conrad Phillips (Detective Todd), Nelly Arno (Miss Rosetti, clerk), David Keir (Mr. Quince, clerk), Eleanor Bryan (Mary Lewis, clerk), Isabel Dean .(May Harmon), Jack Faint (Club Manager), Harold Goodwin (Frank, the waiter) . . . . . our story involves blackmail and murder with George Brent who runs a bookstore where employee Marguerite Chapman is in love with him...but wait there is more, a sexy untrusting good-looking Diana Dors who also works in the bookstore who has eyes for her boss...Brent has an invalid wife who needs an operation abroad and so cashing an insurance policy to pay for the operation everything seems like it will pan out, hold on it gets better, as Dors sees a good for nothing Peter Reynolds shoplifting, but doesn't tell boss...Dors and Reynolds become close, Reynolds has Dors blackmail Brent when he kissed her in a moment of letting his guard down...what will he do, can he keep this away from his wife Isabel Dean, can Chapman help him clear himself as Dors is found murdered and Brent is the prime suspect...all in all the best performance in this film noir is Diana Dors, completely natural and believable . . . . .there's a great deal of entertainment here for all the film noir fans out there...all courtesy of VCI Entertainment, who in my humble opinion is the best there is in restoring early serials and features like this one.
1. George Brent (aka: George Brendan Nolan)
Date of birth: 15 March 1899 - Shannonsbridge, County Dublin, Ireland
Date of death: 26 May 1979 - Solana Beach, California
2. Diana Dors (aka: Diana Mary Fluck)
Date of birth: 23 October 1931 - Swindon, Wiltshire, England, UK
Date of death: 4 May 1984 - Windsor, Berkshire, England, UK
3. Terence Fisher (Director)
Date of birth: 23 February 1904 - London, England, UK
Date of death: 18 June 1980 - Twickenham, London, England, UK
Great job by VCI Entertainment and Kit Parker Films for releasing the "Hammer Film Noir Vol. 1" (1952), digital transfere with a clean, clear and crisp print...looking forward to more of the same from the '40s and '50s vintage...order your copy now from Amazon or VCI Entertainment, stay tuned once again with a top notch "Classic Film Noir" that only VCI Entertainment (King of the Serials) can deliver...just the way we like 'em!
Total Time: 165 mins on DVD ~ VCI Home Video KPF 551 ~ (7/25/2006)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Bad Blonde, starring Barbara Payton, Hammer Film Classics, 1953
Some guys will tell you straight up-never trust a blonde, a good-looking blonde, because she has nothing but murder in her heart and gold more yellow than her hair driving her soul, if she has a soul. Other guys will tell you always trust a blonde, because like the blond in Dorothy Parker's short story, "Big Blonde," she has a heart of gold (and unrequited deep sexual urges too). Me, I can take them or leave, although the blonde in the British crime noir under review, Bad Blonde, should make any man think twice, no, six times before getting mixed up with her. Of course her badness drives this film, and no other attribute.
Of course the story line here is as old as the hills, or as old as there have been hot blondes giving their all to gold-digging, female god-digging, whichever came first. Lorna (played by Barbara Payton), an ex-tramp or something like that, got her hooks into an old- time Italian boxing promoter.
Strictly for the dough and security, okay, after too much time in the flops. But the guy is a buffoon, a rich old buffoon, but a buffoon. Enter one good-looking Johnny Flanagan, a young fighter with promise, and big muscles. They fall for each other, while he is training for the big fight. End of story.
Well, not quite. Although if you have seen enough crime noir you know you have seen this plot unravel before, and more elegantly, in the film adaptation of James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice and others. At some point the old geezer husband is just, well, just in the way, and Lorna starts working her "magic". Naturally Johnny comes to see things her way, kills that old- time promoter (showing a little ingratitude by the way) by drowning him in his very own pond and that is that. Except Johnny (not Lorna though) has plenty of remorse. Remorse enough want to go to the police and confess. Lorna, in clover now, fails to see it that way and poisons her lovely Johnny. But you know she will not get away with that, no way. Bad blond, indeed
[Note: On the great blonde controversy mentioned above I truly can take them or leave them, good or bad. My preference is strictly brunettes lately (although there was a time when I had a run of red-heads but that was kid time, and in the Irish ghetto, where you could hardly walk around the block without running into one who wanted to play some game with you). And believe brunettes are just as capable of leading you on a merry chase, of getting their hooks in you, into you good, as any dizzy blonde, Enough said.]
Man Bait, starring George Brent, Diana Dors, Hammer Film Collections, 1952
Sometimes the title of a crime noir will intrigue you, like The Postman Always Rings Twice, sometimes like this 1950s British crime noir under review, Man Bait (or another recently reviewed 1950s British noir, Bad Blonde), apparently the titles are mere happenstance. Either way this one is kind of, well, sleepy. Sleepy for the plot, and sleepy for action. Definitely a B-noir, very B.
Here is why. A low down grafter, Peter Hart, tries to steal a rare book out of a bookstore and is caught by an employee, Ruby Bruce (played by a young, and, yes, fetching Diana Dors). Instead of turning him in (making for a very short film) she gets into his slimy clutches (nice right) and makes her use her sexual prowess and position in the bookstore to "mark" (one would not realize such things went on such a quaint locale) the emotionally distraught bookstore owner (played by a very un-distraught appearing George Brent).
Now Peter is strictly a con man, no rough stuff, but one night when the pair are divvying up the loot provided by their scam old Ruby takes exception to the split and Peter bops her. Dead. Our boy Peter is no fall guy though and he sets up the "mark," that self-same distraught bookstore owner for Ruby's death. No way, no way in hell, distraught or not, is our heroic bookstore taking the fall. But guess who is.