Dr. Warren Chapin is a pathologist who regularly conducts autopsies on executed prisoners at the State prison. He has a theory that fear is the result of a creature that inhabits all of us. His theory is that the creature is suppressed by our ability to scream when fear strikes us. He gets a chance to test his theories when he meets Ollie and Martha Higgins, who own and operate a second-run movie theater. Martha is deaf and mute and if she is unable to scream, extreme fear should make the creature, which Chapin has called the Tingler, come to life and grow. Using LSD to induce nightmares, he begins his experiment.
A small Mexican village faces the disappearance of a corpse. The dead man’s brother goes out to find his detective friend, a cowboy. However, he is killed by a gang that seeks to get the insurance money from the policy put on the dead man by his aunt. Meanwhile, a strange fish-man monster is stalking our heroes with the intent to kill! Can the cowboy solve the mystery in time?
Toto most successfully attempts to go one better than Chaplin in this entry in which he cleverly uses his expressive face not only to telegraph laughs but to induce audience sympathy. Set against a war-scarred Rome in the middle of winter, Toto plays a petty thief, living on his wits to provide for his family, who are uncomplainingly making the best of a small, cold-water flat with no heating. The screenplay divertingly contrasts the gaunt, if talkative Toto with excitable, roly-poly but equally loquacious Aldo Fabrizi, playing a fathead police sergeant whose family is housed in comparative luxury.
The catalyst for the plot’s ingenious action is provided by that under-rated born-in-Wisconsin actor, William Tubbs, who is wonderfully perfect here in a major role which gently pokes fun at Americans. Not only are all his scenes an absolute howl, but they are most cleverly contrived to increase in intensity as the plot progresses. You will chuckle as Toto leads him on a merry path through the Forum in his introductory scene, gasp with delight when he confronts Toto at the grocery hand-out, split your sides when he gives chase to Toto all over the countryside, and absolutely roll on the floor when he complains bitterly to Fabrizi and Carloni at the police station. This riotous scene, cleverly compounded, when Tubbs finally exits, by a gloriously satiric look at various police regulations, marks the end of the First Act.
Much of this gripping crime drama takes place in a remote New England farm house owned by the brother of a bank robber. The crook is mortally wounded during his last heist and suddenly shows up seeking shelter. The brother reluctantly harbors the fugitive and his henchmen. Time passes and the henchmen are anxious to move on; unfortunately, their leader is healing. He is also still in love with his brother’s wife with whom he had an affair. More trouble ensues when it is revealed that the woman’s son was fathered by the crook, not her husband. Meanwhile, a farmhand manages to escape. He tries to alert the cops and this causes the criminals to flee. To help them through the woods the robber takes the boy to guide him. The boy is devastated when his heretofore decentuncle shoots his father. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide Continue reading
The Well is a modest but generally effective plea for racial tolerance. Based loosely on a real incident, the film tells of the disappearance of a little African-American girl in a small, segregated community. Caucasian Claude Packard (Harry Morgan, the nephew of the town’s richest man (Barry Kelley), is the last person seen with the little girl. Sensing a coverup when Morgan is not immediately charged, the black community is on the verge of a riot. But when it’s discovered that the little girl has fallen down a well, all racial differences are forgotten as black and white neighbors work shoulder to shoulder to rescue the child. The Well tries very hard to be equitable by 1951 standards, and is heartfelt enough to overcome its occasional lapses into stereotype and condescension. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Continue reading
Pauline ‘Paulie’ Nevins is cheating on her husband Ralph Nevins, a land developer, with his sales manager E.V. ‘Marsh’ Marshall. When Paulie and Marsh meet up for a secret rendez-vous in a lovers’ lane they manage to overhear three criminals planning a jewelry heist. They hatch a plan to rob the thieves and run away together but Ralph starts to get suspicious of them. Continue reading
Wounded and weakened in Korean prison camps, GIs descend from the plane that returned them to U.S. soil. It is a time of tearful family reunions. A time of uncertainty about how to help traumatized men. And a time of reckoning: Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr., a silver-star hero and ex-POW, faces trial for collaboration with the enemy. Paul Newman’s richly complex portrayal of Hall sets the tone of acting excellence found throughout The Rack. How much can a POW be expected to endure before breaking? Should his own past and emotional vulnerabilities be weighed against the miltary’s policy of name, rank and serial number? The issues remain timelessly relevant in this probing courtroom drama adapted from a Rod Serling teleplay. Continue reading