Rossiter Case, The (1951)

UK / 74 minutes / bw / Hammer, Exclusive Dir: Francis Searle Pr: Anthony Hinds Scr: Kenneth Hyde, John Hunter, Francis Searle Story: The Rossiters (1947 play) by Kenneth Hyde Cine: Walter Harvey Cast: Helen Shingler, Clement McCallin, Sheila Burrell, Frederick Leister, Henry Edwards, Ann Codrington, Dorothy Batley, Gabrielle Blunt, Eleanor Bryan, Ewen Solon, Robert Percival, Dennis Castle, Frederic Steger, Stanley Baker, Anthony Allen.

Rossiter Case - 0 opener

Everyone is colluding to hide it from Liz Rossiter (Shingler), gravely paralyzed ever since a car accident, that her husband Peter (McCallin) is having an affair with her superbitch sister-in-law, Honor (Burrell), the widow of Peter’s brother Christopher. (Most of the time, just as Liz is called “Mrs. Peter,” Honor is called “Mrs. Christopher.”) Complicit in this conspiracy of silence are Peter’s mother, Marty (Codrington), the old family GP, Dr. John “Ben” Bendix (Edwards), the maid Alice (Blunt), Liz’s nurse Westy (Batley), and even Sir James Ferguson (Leister), the specialist called in from London by Bendix to see what if anything can be done to cure Liz; Sir James dropped by the local pub, The Oak, to ask directions and saw Peter there with Honor.

Rossiter Case - 1 Liz undergoes Sir James's medical tests

Liz (Helen Shingler) undergoes Sir James’s medical tests. 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