snapshot: Crack in the Mirror (1960)

US / 97 minutes / bw / Darryl F. Zanuck Productions, TCF Dir: Richard Fleischer Pr: Darryl F. Zanuck Scr: Jules Dassin, ghostwriting (because blacklisted) for Mark Canfield (i.e., Darryl F. Zanuck) Story: Drame dans un Miroir (1958) by Marcel Haedrich Cine: William Mellor Cast: Orson Welles, Juliette Gréco, Bradford Dillman, Alexander Knox, Catherine Lacey, William Lucas, Maurice Teynac, Austin Willis, Cec Linder, Eugene Deckers, Vivian Matalon, Yves Brainville, Jacques Marin, Martine Alexis, Marc Doelnitz.

Orson Welles aa Émile Hagolin.

We know from the outset that all is not well in the relationship between hard-drinking construction boss Émile Hagolin (Welles) and his mistress, Éponine Mercadier (Gréco). When she brings him his packed lunch on his latest building site, we get this:

Émile: “You’re late. Every day. I’m dying of hunger.”
Éponine: “Die.”

She has eyes only for his studly crane-driver, Robert Larnier (Dillman), who seems much enamored of her and happy enough to tolerate her two small daughters from some unspecified former relationship. The lovers murder the brutish Émile, but Continue reading

Seven Thunders (1957)

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A serial killer in German-occupied Marseilles!
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vt The Beasts of Marseilles
UK / 96 minutes / bw / Dial, Rank Dir: Hugo Fregonese Pr: Daniel M. Angel Scr: John Baines Story: Seven Thunders (1955) by Rupert Croft-Cooke Cine: John Wilkie Cooper Cast: Stephen Boyd, James Robertson Justice, Kathleen Harrison, Tony Wright, Anna Gaylor, Eugene Deckers, Rosalie Crutchley, Katherine Kath, James Kenney, Anton Diffring, Denis Shaw, George Coulouris, Marcel Pagliero, Gaylord Cavallaro, Leonard Sachs, Martin Miller, Carl Duering, June Cowell, Andreas Malandrinos, Edric Connor, Peter Augustine.

I don’t usually post on a Monday, but today is, according to Aurora and others, National Classic Movie Day (twitterpatable at #NationalClassicMovieDay). So, ever one to leap aboard a passing bandwagon, I bring you this . . .

Seven Thunders - 0 opener

In the book of Revelation, Chapter Ten, there’s reference to seven thunders that “utter their voices”; the title of this movie, then—or more accurately the title of its source novel—refers to matters apocalyptic, and sure enough there’s a small-scale apocalypse served up toward the end when the Germans move in to raze the Old Quarter/Old Port region of Marseilles.

It’s 1943 and the trawlerman Salvatore (Pagliero), a Jean Gabin type with a crusty exterior but a heart of gold, brings to the Old Port slum of Marseilles two escaped British prisoners of war, Dave (Boyd) and Jim (Wright), so they can hide out until a passage can be arranged for them to England.

Seven Thunders - 1 The fisherman Salvatore is a stalwart of the Resistance

The fisherman Salvatore (Marcel Pagliero) is a stalwart of the Resistance.

Very soon they encounter, in the apartment block where they’re hiding, Lise (Gaylor), an orphaned young woman who’s using her wits, among other things, to survive the Nazi Occupation. The first encounters aren’t promising: Dave accidentally Continue reading

Highly Dangerous (1950)

UK / 89 minutes / bw / Two Cities, GFD, Rank Dir: Roy Ward Baker Pr: Antony Darnborough Scr: Eric Ambler Cine: Reginald Wyer Cast: Margaret Lockwood, Dane Clark, Bill Casey, Marius Goring, Naunton Wayne, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Eugene Deckers, Olaf Pooley, Gladys Henson, Paul Hardtmuth, Michael Hordern, Eric Pohlmann, Joan Haythorne, Anton Diffring, Anthony Newley, Ewen Solon, Michael Rittermann, Lance Secretan.

Highly Dangerous - closer

Entomologist Frances Gray (Lockwood) is asked by her boss Rawlins (Hordern) and Mr. Hedgerley (Wayne) from the Secretariat of the Imperial General Staff if she could go to an obscure Iron Curtain country to investigate the possibility that a scientist called Kassen has succeeded in breeding insecticide-resistant fruitflies that could be used as vectors for germ warfare against the West.

Highly Dangerous - 1 Mr Hedgerley recruits

Mr Hedgerley (Naunton Wayne), Frances’s recruiter.

She refuses point-blank: she’s just about to go on her hols to Torquay. Hedgerley hitches a lift from her to the station, and en route she plays the night episode of the radio serial Frank Conway, Secret Agent. It is her duty to do so nightly, so that she can tell the story to Continue reading