Alias Mr. Twilight (1946)

US / 69 minutes / bw / Columbia Dir: John Sturges Pr: John Haggott Scr: Brenda Weisberg, Malcolm Stuart Boylan Story: Arthur E. Orloff Cine: Vincent Farrar Cast: Michael Duane, Trudy Marshall, Lloyd Corrigan, Rosalind Ivan, Alan Bridge, Gi-Gi Perreau, Jeff York, Peter Brocco, Torben Meyer, Olaf Hytten, Alan Edwards.

A slight movie of fairly minimal noirish interest but a fun little number nevertheless, and definitely worth a few words here.

Successful con trickster Geoffrey Holden (Corrigan) cares about one thing and one thing only: the happiness of his five-year-old granddaughter Susan (played with your-supper-endangering cuteness by Perreau), whom he adopted after her parents died when she was tiny. Grandfather and granddaughter adore each other.

Lloyd Corrigan as Grandpa Geoffrey.

But circumstances are beginning to close in on the Holdens’ idyll. Corky Corcoran (Marshall), the glamorous young nurse who looks after Susan, Continue reading

Fear is the Key (1972)

UK / 100 minutes / color / Kastner–Ladd–Kanter, Anglo–EMI, KLK Dir: Michael Tuchner Pr: Alan Ladd Jr., Jay Kanter Scr: Robert Carrington Story: Fear is the Key (1961) by Alistair MacLean Cine: Alex Thomson Cast: Barry Newman, Suzy Kendall, John Vernon, Dolph Sweet, Ben Kingsley, Ray McAnally, Peter Marinker, Elliott Sullivan.

Many of the adaptations of MacLean’s popular novels were epic blockbusters with major stars among the cast: The Guns of Navarone (1961) dir J. Lee Thompson, with Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Baker and Anthony Quayle, for example, or Ice Station Zebra (1968) dir John Sturges, with Rock Hudson, Patrick McGoohan, Ernest Borgnine and Jim Brown. At the opposite end of the scale lies this quite palpably lower-budget outing: although released as an A-movie it has B-movie written all over it. It can also, with its themes of revenge and godgaming and its convoluted plot, and despite having plenty of sequences of MacLeanesque high adventure and some quite Bondish moments, be considered as lying within the noir genre, and indeed as one of the precursors, alongside such near-contemporaries as KLUTE (1971), of the modern neonoir subgenre.

Fear is the Key - Barry Newman, with a young Ben Kingsley behind as the psycho Royale

Barry Newman as our avenging hero, Talbot. That youthful figure behind him is Ben Kingsley, here playing a psycho, Royale.

Three years ago, in a remote radio outpost, airline owner John Montague Talbot (Newman) was speaking with his wife when the plane in which she, his brother and his son were traveling was shot down by a bogus USAF fighter jet; aboard the downed plane was a fortune in gold and gems being brought out of Honduras.

Now Talbot seems to be a bum drifting through Louisiana. In a remote gas station/bar he picks a Continue reading