Devil’s Bait (1959)

UK / 56 minutes / bw / Independent Artists, Rank Dir: Peter Graham Scott Pr: Julian Wintle, Leslie Parkyn Scr: Peter Johnston, Diana K. Watson Cine: Michael Reed Cast: Geoffrey Keen, Jane Hylton, Gordon Jackson, Dermot Kelly, Shirley Lawrence, Eileen Moore, Molly Urquhart, Rupert Davies, Gillian Vaughan, Barbara Archer, Timothy Bateson, Noël Hood, Vivienne Bennett, Jack Stewart, John Abineri, Robert Crewdson, Tom Naylor, David Blake Kelly.

An extremely minor British B-movie that somehow manages—perhaps in part because of its excellent cast—to defy expectations and become, by its end, a remarkably effective piece of suspense.

That’s not what you’d think, though, if you watched only the opening act, which is played almost entirely for comedy, complete with a drunken Irishman and a tight-fisted Scots landlady.

In a provincial small town, baker Joe Frisby (Keen) is being troubled by rats in his flour store, and foolishly calls upon tippling, flaky part-time pest exterminator Alfred Love (Kelly). Despite the laws against using poisons in a food establishment, Love spreads potassium cyanide in his bait, then goes off to the pub to drink his fee.

Jane Hylton as Ellen and Geoffrey Keen as Joe

So much for the comedy. Things turn abruptly darker when Continue reading

Hideout, The (1956)

The Hideout 1956 - 0b other opener

UK / 55 minutes / bw / Major, Rank Dir: Peter Graham Scott Pr: John Temple-Smith Scr: Kenneth Hayles Cine: Brendan J. Stafford Cast: Dermot Walsh, Rona Anderson, Ronald Howard, Sam Kydd, Howard Lang, Edwin Richfield, Arnold Diamond, Trevor Reid, Richard Shaw, Tommy Clegg, Jessica Cairns, Frank Hawkins, Jack Taylor, Angela Krefeld.

The Hideout 1956 - 0a opener

A modest piece of UK noir with a convoluted plot that seems to make reasonable sense at the time but becomes harder to follow the more you think about it later.

At the Rex Hotel in London, a valise that was being carried by Helen Grant (Anderson) is accidentally put into the taxi that’s going to take Pan–Atlantic Insurance special investigator Steve Curry (Walsh) to the airport for his New York flight. Steve doesn’t discover the error until he’s at the airport; luckily Tim Bowers (Kydd), whom he’s recently helped out of a jam, came along to see him off, so can take the case back into town and try to track down the woman who lost it. In so doing, Tim finds the case is full of cash: £8,000, in fact—a very great deal, in 1956.

The Hideout 1956 - 1 Sam Kydd has a more major role than usual, hurrahSam Kydd as Tim Powers; those rare occasions when Kydd gets a more major role are always good news.

At the airport, Steve is abducted by some thugs, who attempt to beat out of him the location of the valise. He escapes, makes it back to Tim’s apartment, and learns the truth. The inside lid of the case bears a label with the name and address of one Robert Grant. Steve goes there and recognizes Continue reading