Fly-by-Night (1942)

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On the run for a murder he didn’t commit!
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vt Dangerous Holiday
US / 72 minutes / bw / Paramount Dir: Robert Siodmak Pr: Sol C. Siegel Scr: Jay Dratler, F. Hugh Herbert Story: Ben Roberts, Sidney Sheldon Cine: John Seitz Cast: Richard Carlson, Nancy Kelly, Albert Basserman, Miles Mander, Walter Kingsford, Martin Kosleck, Marion Martin, Oscar O’Shea, Mary Gordon, Edward Gargan, Clem Bevans, Arthur Loft, Michael Morris, Cy Kendall, Nestor Paiva, John Butler.

An escapade conceived very much in the style of Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps (1935), with which movie it shares a number of plot points. Again we have a hero who has to go on the run because suspected of murdering a man who has sought his aid, and again our hero ropes in an unwilling woman as accomplice (with romance as inevitable, further down the line, as in a Hallmark Christmas movie), and again there’s an espionage conspiracy to be foiled.

To say that Siodmak, whose second Hollywood movie this was, was no Hitchcock is the obvious trite comment, and a foolish one—as foolish as saying, equally truthfully, that Hitchcock was no Siodmak. The two directors each had his own strengths, and this one plays to Siodmak’s. The comedy and tension are very well integrated—that I laughed aloud several times didn’t mean I wasn’t on the edge of my seat at others—but what stood out most for me, in terms of the direction, was Continue reading

Pris au Piège (1957 TVM)

vt Four O’Clock

US / 48 minutes / bw / Revue, Shamley, NBC Dir: Alfred Hitchcock Scr: Francis Cockrell Story: Cornell Woolrich Cine: John L. Russell Cast: Nancy Kelly, E.G. Marshall, Richard Long, Tom Pittman, Dean Stanton (i.e., Harry Dean Stanton).

Pris au Piège - 1 the series' evocative opening credits

Watchmaker Paul Steppe (Marshall) believes that his wife Fran (Kelly) has taken a lover, whom she’s entertaining at their home each afternoon while Paul’s working in his shop. Crazed with jealousy, he rigs a huge timebomb in the basement using an alarm clock and homemade explosives, and sets it for four o’clock, when he imagines the two lovers will be entwined. Just as he finishes, he’s assaulted by two young burglars (Pittman, Stanton), who Continue reading