Mystery Junction (1951)

UK / 61 minutes / bw / Merton Park, Anglo-Amalgamated Dir & Scr: Michael McCarthy Pr: William H. Williams Cine: Robert LaPresle Cast: Sydney Tafler, Barbara Murray, Pat Owens (i.e., Patricia Owens), Martin Benson, Christine Silver, David Davies, Charles Irwin, Philip Dale, Pearl Cameron, John Salew, Ewen Solon, Denis Webb, Cyril Smith, Sydney Monckton, Stanley Rose.

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Every now and then the UK’s cheapie studio Merton Park could produce a gem, and this is arguably one of them. Mystery Junction may not be a diamond or an opal, but at the very least it’s a fine piece of costume jewelry. In Sydney Tafler, Barbara Murray, Ewen Solon, Patricia Owens, Martin Benson and others it had the kind of cast that most B-movies could only dream of.

Snowy, snowy weather. Elderly spinster Miss Jessica Owens (Silver) is on the train from Pickering to Stanton and points beyond when she realizes that the man sharing her compartment is none other than Larry Gordon (Tafler), author of the thriller to which she has been glued ever since the train left Pickering two hours ago. Of course, he signs her book for her and, with that distinctive smile that authors produce when (a) the good news is that they’re being fawned on and (b) the bad news is that this is likely to be tiresome, he starts answering a few of her questions along the lines of “Where Continue reading

Too Hot to Handle (1960)

vt Playgirl After Dark
UK / 93 minutes / color / Wigmore, ABPC, Warner-Pathé Dir: Terence Young Pr: C.P. Hamilton Marshall Scr: Herbert Kretzmer Story: Harry Lee (idea) Cine: Otto Heller Cast: Jayne Mansfield, Leo Genn, Carl Boehm (i.e., Karlheinz Böhm), Danik Patisson, Christopher Lee, Kai Fischer, Patrick Holt, Martin Boddey, Sheldon Lawrence, Barbara Windsor, John Salew, Tom Bowman, Ian Fleming, Penny Morrell, Katherine Keeton, Susan Denny, Judy Bruce, Elizabeth Wilson, Shari Khan, Bill McGuffie, Michael Balfour, Larry Taylor, June Elvin, Morton Lowry, Martin Sterndale, Harry Lane, Robin Chapman.

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Gentleman Johnny Solo (Genn) runs the upscale Pink Flamingo strip club in London’s Soho, directly across the road from the Diamond Horseshoe, the joint run by his main rival, Diamonds Dinelli (Lawrence). Johnny’s right-hand man is Novak (Lee); his both-hands woman and chief “exotic dancer” goes under the name of Midnight Franklin (Mansfield), although he often joshingly calls her Twelve O’Clock.

Today he’s hired two new strippers, the schoolteacher-like Marjorie Adams (Denny) and the naive, manifestly underage Stephanie Swanson (Windsor, later to be the bubbly little sexpot in countless Carry On movies), who soon decides that her stage name should be Pony Tail. He also agrees to let a French journalist, Robert Jouvel (Boehm)—wrongly called “Jouvet” in the closing credits—hang around the club for a few days for the purpose of writing an article for a Paris magazine.

Too Hot to Handle 1 Robert does his best to ignore Midnight's rear . . .

Robert (Carl Boehm) does his best to ignore the rear of Midnight (Jayne Mansfield) . . .

Too Hot to Handle 2 . . . but is captivated by Lilliane in rehearsal

. . . but is captivated by Lilliane (Danik Patisson) in rehearsal.

Robert is instantly much taken with one of the strippers, the mysterious Austrian dancer Lilliane Decker (Patisson), who has a touch of tragedy in her eyes and is clearly running from something or someone, because she throws a tantrum when Continue reading