In Istanbul, a jazz trumpeter pulls the murdered body of a young woman from the surf. He remembers her from the night before, when he saw her at a millionaire playboy’s party and then later watched as she was assaulted by the party’s host and two of his friends. In confusion, Jimmy, the musician, leaves for Rio where he finds the sympathetic ear of Rita, a singer who invites him to live with her and helps him recover his equilibrium and his musical ability. Then, into the room walks a woman who looks like Wanda, the murder victim. Jimmy pursues her, not caring if she’s alive or dead. What’s going on? Continue reading
Director Raphaël Jacoulot’s dark and atmospheric mystery, set in an isolated high-Pyrenees hotel, has all the desired elements – precise and intelligent direction, excellent casting and a great plotline in the Chabrol-Simenon tradition.
The events, as they first unfold from an innocuous opening, quickly spiral downward for la famille Couvreur. One snowy evening, despotic hotel-owner Jacques Couvreur (Jean-Pierre Bacri) sends his incompetent son down into the valley to re-stock several cases of wine. The son collides with a pedestrian and for some reason the father decides to hide the truth and say nothing about the hit-and-run accident. A young trainee, Frédéric (Vincent Rottiers), just released from prison and re-starting his life, becomes implicated in this strange affair. Inspector Poncet (Sylvie Testud), in her endearing and off-putting Columbo-esque investigative style, strives to uncover the truth behind the discovery of the corpse. Continue reading
This Hildegarde Withers mystery concerns a woman found dead in Central Park. The police are about to rule it accidental, as it looks like she was thrown from her horse, when Hildegarde Withers discovers a clue that suggests foul play.
This is the fourth in a series of six Hildegarde Withers mysteries made in the 1930s and the first not to star Edna May Oliver. Helen Broderick plays the character here. Continue reading
Noir of the Week review
What has Laura got that The Unsuspected hasn’t? All the romantic, mid-range melodramatic elements that make for an essentially safe, polished, none-too-threatening entertainment experience—a dynamic, exceptionally attractive couple in Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews; a marvelously b*tchy homme fatale in Clifton Webb; a celebrated score and theme song from David Raksin.
You won’t find any of these things in The Unsuspected. What you have instead is the noir mastery of director Michael Curtiz and cinematographer Woody Bredell, who take aspects of the Laura plotline into new levels of intricacy and darkness, fueled by an almost lapidary sense of frame and scene construction. The camerawork and lighting in The Unsuspected, particularly in the studio scenes (inside the Croton mansion where most of the action takes place) is possibly the most sublimely sinister cinematography in the entire noir canon. Continue reading
Very minor spoilers on the second paragraph. All the Colors of the Dark (Tutti i Colori del Buio) is probably the strangest film Sergio Martino ever directed. While not a giallo in the most traditional sense, it seems logical to apply the genre’s framework when discussing it, given that it showcases many of the conventions associate with films of this type, and also because it falls bang in the middle of Martino’s giallo period, produced in the wake of The Strange Vice of Signora Ward and Case Of The Scorpion’s Tale, and preceding Your Vice Is a Closed Room and Only I Have the Key and Torso. A brief glance at the film’s credits reveals a wealth of giallo regulars. Apart from director Martino, we have screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, composer Bruno Nicolai, and a cast comprised of genre heavyweights, led by Edwige Fenech and George Hilton, often regarded as the giallo’s “Golden Couple”. Continue reading
Gimmicky B-movie fright master William Castle (THE TINGLER, STRAIT JACKET) enters the adventurous (for 1961!) world of gender psychology in this effective suspense picture. Bombshell Emily (Jean Arless) murders the justice of the peace after he marries her to Warren (Glen Corbett) a hotel bellboy whom she paid to do so. The odd couple then move to the sleepy town of Solvang, where she works for Warren’s childhood guardian Helga (Eugenie Leontovich), a mute, wheelchair-bound old woman. Emily terrorizes Helga, knowing that Helga has no way of informing anyone about her murderous manners. Warren’s half-sister Miriam (Patricia Breslin) begins to unravel some family secrets–but not before the body count increases! This low-budget “tribute” to the previous year’s PSYCHO featured a “fright break” in its theatrical run which allowed views to get their money back if they were too scared to watch the conclusion. Continue reading
Several people are killed in a London air raid. They each awake aboard a strange ship which will deliver each of them either to heaven or hell. Continue reading