The Walking Target (1960)

US / 74 minutes / bw / Zenith, UA Dir: Edward L. Cahn Pr: Robert E. Kent Scr: Stephen Kandel Cine: Maury Gertsman Cast: Joan Evans, Ronald Foster, Merry Anders, Harp McGuire, Robert Christopher, Berry Kroeger, Bill Couch, Norm Alden, James Callahan, J. Edward McKinley, William Fawcett, Guy Wilkerson, Harvey Parry.

A more than competent little crime outing that would certainly have been included in my Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir had it not flown below my radar; although its ending somewhat unexpectedly abjures the principles of noirish nihilism—I wouldn’t say it’s outright happy but it’s certainly hopeful—the rest of the movie, cinematography excepted, is full of noirish tropes. This is a film noir in all but recognition as such. I console myself with the fact that it’s managed to fly under all the other relevant radars, not just mine.

Ah, well, I can make amends now.

Nick Harbin (Foster) has done five years for a payroll heist that went horribly wrong: he was captured, his accomplice Jerry (Parry) was shot dead at the scene and his other accomplice, Sam Russo (Alden), was killed by the cops later when making an ill advised run for it.

Ronald Foster as Nick Harbin

The day of Nick’s release comes, and Warden John B. Haggerty (McKinley) warns him that, since he’s never divulged the location of the loot, he’ll be a Continue reading

Man in the Road, The (1957)

UK / 83 minutes / bw / Gibraltar, Grand National Dir: Lance Comfort Pr: Charles A. Leeds Scr: Guy Morgan Story: He Was Found in the Road (1952) by Anthony Armstrong Cine: Stan Pavey, Eric Besche Cast: Derek Farr, Ella Raines, Donald Wolfit, Lisa Danielly, Karel Stepanek, Cyril Cusack, Olive Sloane, Bruce Beeby, Russell Napier, Frederick Piper, John Welsh, Alfred Maron.

Man in the Road - 0 opener

Dr. James Paxton (Farr), a prominent scientist (although his specialty’s never identified), is out driving a country lane at night when, turning a corner, he finds a man lying in the middle of the road. He gets out to offer help, whereupon he’s immediately knocked unconscious. His clothes are swapped with those of the dead man, whose corpse is put into Paxton’s car and the vehicle set alight.

Days or longer later, we find him waking in a nursing home, Downview Hall, near Medworth, run by the sinister Professor Cattrell (Wolfit). Cattrell and his staff—Dr. Manning (Beeby) and the saucy Nurse Mitzi (Danielly)—use a mixture of drugs, hypnosis and, in Mitzi’s case, blandishment to persuade him that he’s really a faceless accountant called Ivan Mason, found lying in the middle of a country road having obviously been run down in a hit-and-run accident. “Ivan” is persuaded—especially by Mitzi, with whom he becomes infatuated and who pretends to reciprocate the feeling—that, yes, indeed he must be suffering amnesia after his accident.

Man in the Road - 1 Dr Cattrell & his hypnotic cig lighter

Dr. Cattrell (Donald Wolfit) wields his hypnotic cigarette lighter.

It doesn’t strike Ivan as strange that Cattrell is going to odd lengths to try to reconstruct his past, such as ferrying out from London Ivan’s supposed old Continue reading

Convicted (1938)

US / 59 minutes / bw / Central, Columbia Dir: Leon Barsha Pr: Kenneth J. Bishop Scr: Edgar Edwards Story: “Face Work” (1936 Black Mask; vt “Angel Face”) by Cornell Woolrich Cine: George Meehan Cast: Charles Quigley, Rita Hayworth, Marc Lawrence, George McKay, Doreen MacGregor, Bill Irving, Eddie Laughton, Edgar Edwards, Phyllis Clare, Bob Rideout, Michael Heppell, Noel Cusack, Grant MacDonald, Don Douglas.

Convicted 1938 - 0 opener

Nightclub dancer Jerry Wheeler (Hayworth), billed as Mistress of the Rhumba (which of course Hayworth was!), is told by Mary Allen (MacGregor), fiancée of Jerry’s kid brother Chick (Edwards), that Chick is about to run away with the floozy Ruby Rose (Clare). Jerry goes to Ruby’s apartment and confronts her—unsuccessfully, of course, because Ruby has no heart of gold. It’s in this sequence that some of the movie’s best snappy lines are traded, such as Continue reading