My Blood Runs Cold (1965)

As well it might!

US / 104 minutes / bw / William Conrad Productions, Warner Bros.–First National Dir & Pr: William Conrad Scr: John Mantley Story: John Meredyth Lucas Cine: Sam Leavitt Cast: Troy Donahue, Joey Heatherton, Barry Sullivan, Nicolas Coster, Jeanette Nolan, Russell Thorson, Jean Paul King, Ben Wright, Shirley Mitchell, Howard McNear, Howard Wendell, John Holland, John McCook, Linda Meiklejohn.

Julie Merriday (Heatherton), headstrong daughter of the richest and most powerful man in the area, is speeding along the road one day with boyfriend Harry Lindsay (Coster) when she nearly kills motorcyclist Ben Gunther (Donahue). After being pulled out of the ditch, Ben recognizes her as Barbara, his long-lost love—really long-lost, because Barbara Merriday died a century ago giving birth to the child ancestral to the current Merriday brood.

Julie’s father Julian (Sullivan) is brutally possessive and controlling. At first he welcomes the idea that Continue reading

Keep Your Distance (2005)

Poison pen à trois?

US / 94 minutes / color / Lunacy Unlimited, Blue & Grey Dir & Scr: Stu Pollard Pr: Christina Varotsis, Stu Pollard Cine: Matthew Irving Cast: Gil Bellows, Jennifer Westfeldt, Kim Raver, Christian Kane, Jamie Harrold, Gary Anthony Williams, Cynthia Martells, Dennis Burkley, Rick Overton, Elizabeth Peña, Stacy Keach, Jenny McShane, Jim Petersmith, Mel Rexroat, Jon Huffman.

A modest yet engaging minor movie that, by its end, somehow seemed to be both more and less than the sum of its parts. I think this ambivalence of mine about it arose because a minor element of the movie comprises a Dan Brownish puzzle whose solution, when finally revealed to us, seems rather a letdown—the clues lead to a particular piece of text whose relevance is, well, a bit tenuous . . . unless I was missing something, which is always possible.

Gil Bellows as David Dailey.

Kim Raver as Susan Dailey.

David Dailey (Bellows) is a highly successful radio host for the (real-life) station 84WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky. He and his wife Susan (Raver) are poster children for the arts, charity and tolerance. David is also near-insufferably smug in this role—for example, he seems to enjoy constantly telling assistant Whit Harrington (Harrold) that he’s a no-hoper—which makes it all the more alarming when one day David receives an anonymous note consisting of no more than the word


with the initial letter highlighted. In the envelope there’s also a hotel room key.

Assuming Susan’s the one who sent the note, proposing a spicy night out, David goes to the hotel, a red rose between his teeth and his hopes high, only to discover Continue reading

Return to Sender (2015)

Surgery practice!

US / 95 minutes / color / Voltage, Boo, WOC, HW Dir: Fouad Mikati Pr: Candice Abela-Mikati, Holly Wiersma Scr: Patricia Beauchamp, Joe Gossett Cine: Russell Carpenter Cast: Rosamund Pike, Shiloh Fernandez, Camryn Manheim, Illeana Douglas, Nick Nolte, Alexi Wasser, Rumer Willis, Stephen Louis Grush, Donna Duplantier, Ian Barford, Billy Slaughter, Scout Taylor-Compton, Jeff Pope, Ryan Phillippe, Liann Pattison.

Sweet hospital nurse Miranda Wells (Pike), though rather cold, is always willing to help—and always level-headed in a crisis. To be sure, she’s a tad over-fastidious and obsessive, a quality she puts to good use in her hobby of baking and decorating intricately crafted cakes but that also manifests itself through her panicky antagonism to using any pens save those of a particular brand (which she orders by the boxful), through her need to clean off public phones before touching them . . . and through her reluctance to meet men with a view to dating.

Rosamund Pike as Nurse Miranda Wells.

Her colleagues and friends Nancy (Manheim), Darlene (Willis) and April (Wasser) are determined to do something to “cure” Miranda of this last idiosyncracy, and after months of trying Darlene has managed to get her to agree to a blind date with a man called Kevin (Slaughter).

The appointed day comes, and Continue reading

Devil You Know (2013)

The long shadows of the past!

US / 72 minutes / color / Roger, Nightfly, Wonder, RIVR Dir: James Oakley Pr: Michael Webber, Peter McIntosh, Amanda Foley, James Oakley Scr: Alex Michaelides Cine: Kenneth Brown Cast: Lena Olin, Rosamund Pike, Dean Winters, Molly Price, Barbara Garrick, Bern Cohen, Matthew Faber, Stephen Gevedon, Jennifer Lawrence, Alan Coates, Paul Navarra, Michael Pemberton, Kit Flanagan, Annika Peterson, Charlie Wilson, Eric Zuckerman.

The very first thing I thought on glancing at this movie was, Golly! What a cast! How come I’ve never heard of this . . .?

What I didn’t then know was that Continue reading

Killing Me Softly (2002)

She loves him . . . but does she really know who he is?

US, UK / 100 minutes / color / MGM, Montecito, Noelle Dir: Chen Kaige Pr: Lynda Myles, Joe Medjuck, Michael Chinich Scr: Kara Lindstrom Story: Killing Me Softly (1999) by Nicci French Cine: Michael Coulter Cast: Heather Graham, Joseph Fiennes, Natascha McElhone, Ulrich Thomsen, Ian Hart, Jason Hughes, Kika Markham, Amy Robbins, Yasmin Bannerman, Rebecca Palmer, Ronan Vibert, Olivia Poulet.


A psychological thriller that, while it’s far from a masterpiece, I’d maintain is rather better than it’s usually given credit for.


Alice (Graham) is an American who’s been in London these past two years working as a designer of CD-ROMs and websites for corporate clients. For six months now she’s lived with her boyfriend, Jake (Hughes), in a relationship that’s become affectionate and comfortable, albeit no longer fiery.


Jake (Jason Hughes) is a comfortable companion.

One day on the way to work she accidentally touches fingers with a mysterious stranger, mountaineer Adam Tallis (Fiennes), at a pedestrian stop sign, and there’s an instant attraction. Soon they’re in a taxi to the apartment where he’s living—in fact his sister’s—and, once they get there, they promptly Continue reading

Taste of Evil, A (1971 TVM)

Was someone trying to drive her . . . insane?

US / 71 minutes / color / Aaron Spelling, ABC Dir: John Llewellyn Moxey Pr: Aaron Spelling Scr: Jimmy Sangster Cine: Arch Dalzell Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Barbara Parkins, Roddy McDowall, William Windom, Arthur O’Connell, Bing Russell, Dawn Frame.

Taste of Evil - 0 opener

“Once upon a time there was a family who lived in a big house all by itself in the middle of great big woods. There was Mommy. She was very beautiful. Everyone loved her—especially Uncle Harold. He wasn’t my real uncle—just make-believe. Mommy made people laugh, because she was so happy herself. Then there was Daddy. He was very handsome and very kind. Everybody was mad about him. And last of all, because she was the youngest, there was Susan. She had no brothers or sisters, so she was on her own a lot. But she didn’t mind it, because she had her own special house in the woods that her daddy had built for her when she was a very little girl . . .”

Continue reading

Dirty Little Secret (2011)

US / 7 minutes / color / zoes3d, Somerville, Prototype, Albatross Dir & Scr: Chris St.Croix Pr: Chris Conner, David Buchert, D.J. Goller Cine: Michael Costanza Cast: Jennifer Spriggs, Kristen Linten, Jordan Stephens, Michael Scott Quinlan, Brandon Vestal, Steve Burkett.

Dirty Little Secret - 0 opener

In some anonymous corporate office, Kelly (Spriggs) is working late on Christmas Eve. The radio talks of a downtown shooting. The last of her colleagues to go for the night, Carol (Linten), spooks Kelly out further by reminding her: “You know that girl who was attacked a few weeks ago? That could be you.”

Finally Kelly shuts off her laptop and Continue reading

Phantom Speaks, The (1945)

What possessed him to commit murder?

US / 69 minutes / bw / Republic Dir: John English Pr: Donald H. Brown Scr: John K. Butler Cine: William Bradford Cast: Richard Arlen, Stanley Ridges, Lynne Roberts, Tom Powers, Charlotte Wynters, Jonathan Hale, Pierre Watkin, Marian Martin (i.e., Marion Martin), Garry Owen, Ralf Harolde, Doreen McCann, Joseph Granby, Bob Alden, Charles Sullivan.

The Phantom Speaks - closer

It begins, as so many stories do, in a park. Frankie Teal (Harolde) is there, having come in response to a note from his mistress:

Harvey out of town. Meet me in the park at noon. Usual place. Important.

But the person who meets Frankie isn’t Betty at all: it’s Harvey Bogardus (Powers), Betty’s husband and a ruthless self-made man. He Continue reading

Lizzie (1957)

US / 80 minutes / bw / Bryna, MGM Dir: Hugo Haas Pr: Jerry Bresler Scr: Mel Dinelli Story: The Bird’s Nest (1954) by Shirley Jackson Cine: Paul Ivano Cast: Eleanor Parker, Richard Boone, Joan Blondell, Hugo Haas, Ric Roman, Dorothy Arnold, John Reach, Marion Ross, Johnny Mathis, Karen Green, Carol Wells.

Lizzie - 4 Johnny Mathis sings

25-year-old Elizabeth Richmond (Parker) is a repressed, hypochondriacal, insecure museum worker who defies all the efforts of friendly colleague Ruth Seaton (Ross) to bring her out of her shell; she rebuffs almost tearfully the advances of the museum’s cut-price lothario, Johnny Valenzo (Roman). A particular source of misery is that she keeps finding poisonous letters on her desk or in her purse from someone signing themselves Lizzie.

Lizzie - 1 the first time Aunt Morgan encounters Lizzie

The first time Aunt Morgan (Joan Blondell) encounters the snarling Lizzie (Eleanor Parker).

One night, however, the timid Elizabeth startles the hard-drinking unsupportive aunt with whom she lives, Morgan James (Blondell), by suddenly snarling at her, “You drunken old Continue reading

Labyrinth der Leidenschaften (1959)

WG, Italy / 95 minutes / bw / Universum, CEI, UFA-Filmverleih Dir: Rolf Thiele Pr: Walter Tjaden Scr: Gregor von Rezzori, Rolf Thiele Story: Our Hearts are Restless (1955) by Gladys Baker Cine: Klaus von Rautenfeld Cast: Nadja Tiller, Peter van Eyck, Amedeo Nazzari, Nicole Badal, Hanne Wieder, Elisabeth Flickenschildt, Ina Duscha, Benno Hoffman, Matteo Spinola, Piera Arico, Eduard Linkers, Anna Maria Lussi, Ljuba Welitsch.

Labyrinth - 0 mood opener

A fascinating psychological drama. Until a few years ago, Georgia Gale (Tiller) was a poet of great renown, but then she stopped writing and started drinking heavily. Now, as a desperate last resort, she has traveled to Switzerland, to the Sanatorium de Lattre, where she hopes to find a cure at the hands of the famous Professor De Lattre (Nazzari).

Labyrinth - 2 the petulant Georgia

The petulant Georgia (Nadja Tiller).

Almost as soon as she has arrived she’s rebelling against the regulations, not least that Continue reading