Traitors, The (1962)

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An Anglo–American team uncovers a nest of spies!
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UK / 66 minutes / bw / Ello, Rank Dir: Robert Tronson Pr & Scr: Jim O’Connolly Story: J. Levy, J.P. O’Connolly Cine: Michael Reed, James Bawdon Cast: Patrick Allen, Jacqueline Ellis, James Maxwell, Zena Walker, Ewan Roberts, Harold Goodwin, John Bown, Jeffrey Segal, Anne Padwick, Jack May, Mark Singleton, Sean Lynch, A.J. Brown, Victor Platt, Reed De Rouen, Anton Rodgers, Michael Corcoran, Sheldon Lawrence, Robert Raglan, Fanny Carby, Henry De Bray, Arthur Barclay, Frank Wilson Taylor, Mike Martin.

NATO Security is concerned because, in the wreckage of an air crash in Munich, they’ve discovered a roll of microfilm related to a top-secret nuclear-rocket project based in Woking, England. General Waring (uncredited) of NATO calls in the British Security Service in the shape of its incompetent boss, Colonel Burlinson (Roberts), and his assistant, John Lane (Allen). They agree that Lane should take over the case and they 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.

Too Hot to Handle 0 opener

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

Mark of the Phoenix (1958)

UK / 62 minutes / bw / Butcher’s Dir: Maclean Rogers Pr: W.G. Chalmers Scr: Norman Hudis Story: The Phoenix Sings (1955) by Desmond Cory Cine: Geoffrey Faithfull Cast: Julia Arnall, Sheldon Lawrence, Anton Diffring, Eric Pohlmann, George Margo, Michael Peake, Martin Miller, Bernard Rebel, Roger Delgado, Frederick Schreicker.

In Belgium, the scientist Van de Velde (Schreicker) has developed a marvelous alloy that is impervious to nuclear radiation. His lab is invaded by the crooks Emilson (Margo), Koos (Peake) and Fyodor Vachek (Rebel); Koos shoots Van de Velde dead and the trio escape with a small container of the alloy in liquid form. They take the alloy to the Brussels jeweler Brunet (Miller) and demand that he “turn the alloy into metal”—a puzzling request, since the alloy obviously already is metal; they appear to be asking him to transform it from liquid to solid. (Since the alloy is elsewhere described as “atomic” we sense that science was not scripter Hudis’s strong point.) That solid should take the form of a cigarette case in a design that Brunet has been making for sale in his shop. The process complete, they ask him to electroplate the case in silver. The scheme, we’re soon told, is smuggle this sample of the alloy behind the Iron Curtain, where a government customer is prepared to pay $1 million for it.

Meanwhile there arrives in Brussels the international jewel thief Chuck Martin (Lawrence). He calls with the proceeds of his latest heist on his old fence, who just happens to be the jeweler Brunet. Vachek, who clearly has an agenda of his own, engineers the transfer of his own suite at the Plaza Hotel to Chuck, then places the cigarette case inside it. (It’s not 100% clear why he does this, but it serves to get Chuck involved in the plot.)

Chuck calls on shady gem collector Maurice Duser (Pohlmann) with a necklace that he held back from the consignment he gave to Brunet. Duser buys this as a gift for his fiancée, Petra Charrier (Arnall). During the transaction, Duser sees and recognizes the cigarette case Chuck is using; he sends Emilson to Chuck’s hotel room to steal it, but Chuck wins the ensuing punchup . . .

Schell (Anton Diffring) takes Petra (Julia Arnall) into his confidence.

And so this meanders amiably along. Brunet is knocked off by Koos when Duser fears the old man knows too much. Trying to find out why the cigarette case is such a hot property, Chuck manages with ease to break into Brunet’s shop (apparently there’s no alarm system) and Duser’s safe (apparently there’s again no alarm system). Later Koos—a sort of walking lesson in why stupid people shouldn’t be given guns—shoots dead Vachek before Duser and Emilson have learned the information they’ve been trying to torture out of him. Petra dumps Duser with an excellent line—”If I ever want a second-hand ring and you want a second-hand girl, let’s get together”—and her interests are clearly drifting toward Chuck instead. The able Belgian policeman Inspector Schell (Diffring) is hot in pursuit of the bad guys, assisted by police scientist Gavron (Delgado), who speaks the kind of language that B-movie boffins speak: “It is a certainty that Van de Velde had discovered a metal completely unaffected by radioactivity!”

The moronic, trigger-happy Koos (Michael Peake) kills Vachek (Bernard Rebel) just to show he can.

In addition to the scientific puzzlers, there are various other places where you sense that, if Continue reading