1951-1960

Budd Boetticher – The Killer Is Loose (1956)


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Plot:
A bank robber’s (Wendell Corey) wife is shot during his arrest by a cop (Joseph Cotten). He escapes to kill the cop’s wife (Rhonda Fleming) as retribution. Despite the cop’s protest, the police decide to use Fleming as a lure. From Warner Brothers Website! Read More »

Andrew Marton – The Wild North (1952)

Synopsis:

In 1952, many “outdoors” adventure films would be shot on the studio back-lot, with fake-looking backgrounds and interior sets masquerading as exteriors. The Wild North benefits greatly from the fact that much of it was shot on authentic locations (the American state of Idaho standing in for northern Canada). The film also benefits from a clutch of strong leading performances from Stewart Granger and Wendell Corey, plus the ravishing Cyd Charisse (cast – some might say miscast – as a native Indian). The whole film is smartly presented by Andrew Marton, whose last film prior to this was another outdoor adventure with Stewart Granger, the 1950 version of King Solomon’s Mines. Read More »

Joseph Pevney – Istanbul (1957)

Review Summary
In this adventure, a remake of Singapore (1947), a hero finds a bracelet containing 13 precious gems while visiting Istanbul. He soon finds himself pursued by covetous crooks who want those jewels. He is then deported by the Turkish authorities, but not before he has time to hide the bracelet in a hotel. Five years later, the man returns to seek out the stones. Again he is pursued by both authorities and criminals. He must also contend with the reappearance of his wife whom he thought had burned to death on their wedding night. She lived but suffered amnesia. She then remarried. Nat “King” Cole sings “When I Fall in Love”. Read More »

Richard Quine – Bell Book and Candle (1958)


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A Witch in Love; ‘Bell, Book and Candle’ at Fine Arts, Odeon

THE magic in “Bell, Book and Candle,” which opened at the Fine Arts and Odeon Theatres on Christmas, is not so much black as chromatic. It’s the color that’s bewitching in this film.

Actually, its story of a young lady who possesses some supernatural power, which she uses to inveigle a gentleman into falling in love with her, is neither as novel nor engaging as you might expect it to be. Pretty young ladies in movies are bewitching gaga fellows all the time with enticements and devices that are magic, so fas as the audience can tell. So the gimmick of John van Druten’s stage play, which has been used as the basis for this film — the gimmick of a woman endowed with witchcraft—is really rather silly and banal. Read More »

Lewis Seiler – Women’s Prison (1955)

Synopsis:
A ruthless superintendent of a prison, Amelia van Zandt, makes life hell for the female inmates. Her rules are rigid and she makes no exceptions.

The newcomer Helene Jensen is not a hardened criminal by any means, but a woman convicted of vehicular homicide after she accidentally killed a child. Out of place here, Helene is so distraught that Van Zandt has her placed in solitary confinement, making it even worse. Helene nearly dies.

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Ingmar Bergman – Kvinnors väntan AKA Waiting Women (1952)



While at a summerhouse, awaiting their husbands’ return, a group of sisters-in-law recount stories from their respective marriages. Rakel (Anita Björk) tells of receiving a visit from a former lover (Jarl Kulle); Marta (Maj-Britt Nilsson) of agreeing to marry a painter (Birger Malmsten) only after having his child; and Karin (Eva Dahlbeck) of being stuck with her husband (Gunnar Björnstrand) in an elevator, where they talk intimately for the first time in years. Making dexterous use of flashbacks, the engaging Waiting Women is a veritable seedbed of Bergman themes, ranging from aspiring young love to the fear of loneliness, with the finale a masterpiece of chamber comedy. Read More »

Felix E. Feist – Donovan’s Brain (1953)



Quote:
Made in an age when the science fiction film genre was dominated by giant insects and monsters from beneath the sea (not that there’s anything wrong with those) “Donovan’s Brain” stands out as a more understated (and under-appreciated) gem.

A movie about a dead financier’s brain being kept alive in a fish tank as it takes over the minds of people around it could easily become silly; in fact it would be hard for such a premise NOT to be silly (which is why Steve Martin loosely adapted the premise for his comedy “The Man with Two Brains.”) Read More »