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a bunch of stuff I’ve watched recently and didn’t write about

Posted by martinteller on January 23, 2016

I’ve slowed down in my movie consumption, and slowed down even more with writing about them. So here’s a quick and dirty brain dump of the films I’ve seen in the past few months that didn’t get reviewed:

Ex Machina – Premise felt both clever and too familiar. It had some engaging Kubrickian style, but my interest waned a bit as it went on. Rating: Good (78)

It Follows – Disappointing throwback with a lot of nonsense. The kind of movie that makes you go “Why don’t they just…?” and that’s annoying. Mildly scary. Rating: Fair (62)

The Dark Matter of Love – A documentary of special interest to me and Carrie, because we’ve been tossing around the idea of adoption/fostering. Obviously it can be a rewarding experience, but there are right ways and wrong ways, and this shows some of the wrong. Interesting story, but I’d like to see a broader perspective. Rating: Good (77)

The ‘Burbs (rewatch) – Showed this to Carrie, I think it might have been on Halloween. It didn’t hold up quite as well as I’d hoped (Carrie rightfully accused the plot of getting tiresome), but there’s some pretty funny bits in it. Lots of quotables. Rick Ducommin is so great. Rating: Good (75)

Spooky Buddies – Hoo boy. We briefly developed a masochistic taste for these Air Bud spinoffs featuring 6 golden retriever puppies getting into wacky adventures. Most of the cuteness factor is annihilated by the paper-thin characters, awful jokes, and overall cheapness. Somehow we made it all the way through this one, maybe because it was Halloween or maybe because of the novelty of seeing Harland Williams in it. I rated this a lot lower at first, but in retrospect it wasn’t that horrible. Still… not good. Rating: Poor (44)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 – Well, certainly if you care, you’ve seen it already and know what kind of problems it has. The series has always been spotty, but this was definitely the weakest and least enjoyable. Rating: Fair (61)

The Martian – It has some moments and the production is very convincing, but the dialogue and story are both full of clichés (how many times did we hear some variation of “we ran the numbers”?). There’s no real tension as Damon instantly “sciences the shit” his way out of pretty much every obstacle. Rating: Poor (57)

Pitch Perfect 2 – In the music biz, they call this the Sophomore Slump. While it doesn’t exactly copy the first movie, there’s nothing that fresh here. I’m struggling to remember any of the funny bits… or any of the songs. Rating: Fair (65)

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – Sure, you could nitpick the shit of it like a giant nerd, or you could take a chill pill and enjoy one of more entertaining big-budget-blowouts in recent memory. I just had a lot of fun at this movie, and I enjoy most of the new characters. Is it a retread? Sure, in a way, but I think the franchise needed a return to its roots. Looking forward to seeing where this goes next. Rating: Very Good (87)

Anne of Green Gables – Carrie shared one of her childhood favorites with me. I never read the book and knew little about the story, but I found it pretty enjoyable. Great performances by Dewhurst and Fansworth. And a lovely, bucolic atmosphere. Some minor complaints, but I’ve forgotten most of them. Rating: Good (74)

India’s Daughter – Yeah, this is super fucked-up and will make you cry and make you angry. While the film seems to be singling India out and wagging a finger, it reminds us at the end that other countries (including the US) have a long long way to go in how we handle rape. Rating: Very Good (86)

Singin’ in the Rain (rewatch) – Carrie had never seen it, it was time. Pleased to say it went over very well. The “Broadway Medley” part bothers me less and less each time. It didn’t feel as long as I remembered it. I could still do without it, but that “crazy veil” portion is really something. I also wish there was a little more Debbie Reynolds in it, she’s not nearly as prominent as I thought she was. But at least we get a generous serving of Jean Hagen, who is frickin’ hilarious. Rating: Great (94)

World of Tomorrow – Don Hertzfeldt’s latest popped up on Netflix, so I took the opportunity to check it out (even though I could have easily done so earlier). His best work? I’m still fond of Billy’s Balloon but it’s been a long time, I’d have to reevaluate it. It’s definitely witty, clever, original and moving. He’s approaching the sort of hopeful sadness that I love in Vonnegut… this feels like a very Vonnegut kind of movie. Rating: Very Good (87)

It’s Such a Beautiful Day – I also took the opportunity to finally see this other Hertzfeldt. This hit a lot of similar notes, but with a more personalized touch. The first part I didn’t think was that great, but it gets better as it goes on. Rating: Very Good (85)

Exporting Raymond – I don’t think I’ve ever watched more than 3 minutes of “I Love Raymond”, but I heard show creator Phil Rosenthal on a podcast and he was so delightful that I wanted to check out his documentary about trying to adapt the show for a Russian audience. Lots of interesting bits here, from the ex-military chauffeur who enjoys studying seashells, to the obstinate costume designer who insists that a busy housewife dress in haute couture. Would like to see a little more probing about the roots of the cultural differences, but an enjoyable watch. Rating: Very Good (80)

Approaching the Elephant – Documentary in the “fly on the wall” Frederick Wiseman/Allan King style about some young starry-eyed folks trying to start up a Free School in New Jersey. A thought-provoking look at good intentions gone wrong… or right, depending on your opinion. There are a few moments of triumph, but for the most part, to me it looked like barely-contained chaos… and a lot of disfiguring accidents just waiting to happen. At times the adults become children when trying to treat the children like adults. Rating: Good (77)

Xiao Kang – This isn’t a movie, it’s a trailer for the Vienna Film Festival. But it’s by Ming-liang Tsai, so of course I was gonna watch it. It’s a minute or so of Kang-sheng Lee poking around in a forest. I love Lee and I love Tsai, but let’s be honest… whether I’m rating this as a short film or as a trailer, it doesn’t do much for me. Rating: Poor (48)

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Bride & Prejudice

Posted by martinteller on January 3, 2016

Not really in the mood to structure a proper review, so I’m just gonna riff on this one.

Martin Henderson is a terrible Mr. Darcy. This guy has absolutely zero going on besides a somewhat pretty face. He’s bringing nothing to the table. Carrie — a diehard “Pride & Prejudice” fan — says Mr. Darcy is supposed to be brooding. Henderson is merely pouty.

Some of the faults of the film are faults in the source material… Lizzie/Lalita always believes the last thing to hit her ears, and she’s also too virtuous. Certain characters are too broad. But I feel director Gurinder Chadha has to take the blame for some of the clichés, and the numerous straw man arguments in the film. I appreciate the idea of criticizing superficial cultural tourism, but it’s done so bluntly here that there’s no nuance to it. No one of any tact or intelligence would actually say “I don’t need to go to India because we have yoga.”

The film is both a celebration and a sendup of Bollywood, which can go both ways. If you take the Lalita/Darcy romantic montage at face value, it’s painfully ridiculous. If you view it as camp, it’s enjoyable. The colorful dances make for some of the film’s best moments… but they also feel like standard Bollywood dance moves cobbled together, without a character of their own. The songs are fun, but not especially memorable.

The humor is not as bad as Bollywood movies often are. It’s rarely laugh-out-loud funny, but(I quite liked the line about screwing in a light bulb with one hand while petting a dog with the other, and none of the jokes/gags are terrible. The worst offender is Nitin Ganatra, whose broad performance as Kohli is pretty hard to stomach at times.

The attempts to modernize the story mostly work. Arranged marriages are not entirely out of vogue in India, so an Indian setting makes a lot of sense for this tale.

Man, it really needs a better Darcy though. I just keep coming back to how lame Henderson is. Aishwarya Rai is a good enough actress to sell her part, but she can’t make Henderson seem appealing. Even in the movie’s otherwise fun blooper reel, he comes off like a dud. The film has some enjoyable elements, but they’re hampered by Henderson, cliché, and a dearth of subtlety. Rating: Fair (60)


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The World of Apu (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on January 1, 2016

This was the one I was most looking forward to seeing again. It was one of my favorites by one of my favorite directors, and just missed being in my top 100 (it did find a home in my 101-250 list). I had fond memories of the film’s emotional power and Soumitra Chatterjee’s performance… not only his first with Satyajit Ray (there would be a dozen more) but his first ever.

With that kind of preamble, you can probably guess where this is going, if you haven’t already peeked ahead at my score. Previously I said Aparajito was my least favorite of the trilogy. Now it’s unquestionably this one. It’s the most problematic of them. We can start with Chatterjee. Although he is certainly charming and pulls off a few great moments, he is definitely not at his best at the start of his career. His performance often comes off as forced, especially when he’s called upon to laugh (we can blame writing in part for that, he’s made to laugh at things that aren’t very funny).

It’s difficult to discuss the movie’s other flaws without getting into spoiler territory. But there are two key relationship developments that seem to come too easily, and Apu’s character could be better defined, and frankly more likable. He does something that really makes you lose any sympathy for him. It can be justified, and obviously there’s nothing inherently wrong with a flawed protagonist, but it’s… well, it’s problematic. When I watch this movie, the little criticisms keep poking at me, even though I don’t necessarily think they ruin the film.

Of course, there’s a lot to like as well. There are powerful emotional punches. Chatterjee does have some terrific moments, and Sharmila Tagore (making her debut at age 12!) is wonderfully endearing. Subrata Mitra’s cinematography is simply stunning, there are breathtaking images. Shankar’s score is evocative and beautiful. And overall, it’s a good story that does interesting things with the themes of loss, soul-searching and redemption. But, sadly, I’ve lost some love for it. Rating: Very Good (85)

The World of Apu is replaced in my top 250 list with Yasmin Ahmad’s Sepet, which I recently revisited and fell even more in love with.


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Top 10 Discoveries of 2015

Posted by martinteller on January 1, 2016

It’s no secret that my interest in movies has waned (as has my interest in writing about them… there are a several movies I saw that never made it to this blog). I watched fewer films in 2015 than any of the previous 14 years. Additionally, a higher proportion of what I watch is now devoted to newer releases and revisits. So what used to be a top 20 list of older movies I discovered in the past year is now reduced to a top 10. These are all the non-new films I saw in 2015 for the first time that I rated 85 or higher. It’s a smaller list, but it’s a good list, and re-reading these reviews has started to rekindle my interest in cinema a little bit.


1. Kokoro

“It has a profound impact as it examines the psychological, spiritual, and moral complexities of its characters.”

2. Watership Down

“The film handles death in a way that makes it both terrifying and poignant, haunting and lovely.”

3. Deep Water

“A thoughtful piece of work, a thorough meditation on misguided human endeavor.”

4. Intimate Lighting

“It all has such an easy-going tempo that it goes down smoothly.”

5. The Ape Woman

“The movie never quite goes in the direction you think it will, and the characters are not easily shoehorned into easy boxes.”

6. Hedwig and the Angry Inch

“Although undoubtedly campy, it has a sincerity and a solid emotional core that shines through.”

7. Time Stood Still

“Both sides of this generation gap are presented with sympathy and understanding.”

8. Gone to Earth

“The bold colors help lend the film its faintly surreal aura, an otherworldly patina.”

9. Imitation of Life (1934)

“Stahl’s [version] has much to recommend it as well, and is even more daring for its time.”

10. Titli

“Compelling, honest and sometimes touching portrait of a mother-daughter relationship.”

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Aparajito (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on December 15, 2015

I’ve always said that although it’s called “The Apu Trilogy”, Pather Panchali is really about Durga and Aparajito is really about Apu’s mother, Sarbojaya. But on this viewing, I realized that I was wrong about the second part. The narrative does put some of its focus on the mother, but I would say most of it is devoted to Apu’s life and viewpoint. It’s about his choices and his aspirations. He is more than a pair of eyes here… he has agency and introduces change.

I also said in an earlier view that I think Ray judges Apu too harshly here, but again I’ve changed my mind. I don’t see judgment being passed. Whether Apu could have done things differently (and whether it would had any impact either way) is up for debate… the film doesn’t force an opinion on it. It’s hard to discuss specifics without getting into spoiler territory, but to me he doesn’t do anything out of line. In essence, he is a kind and thoughtful person, but like any adolescent he’s starting to form a life for himself. Ray’s humanist slant invites us to explore emotion and motivation rather than assign blame. It’s one of the things I love about his work. No one is condemned outright for their flaws and mistakes.

Of the trilogy, this is one I think about the least, and the other two provoke greater emotional reactions. For that reason, it remains my least favorite of the three. But all of them are exceptional films, and the poetry of Aparajito is apparent in its observation of daily life, its connections between people and their surroundings, and the great empathy we feel for the characters. Within the film itself we see the transition from (in the first half) the loose, anecdotal structure of Ray’s debut to the more straightforward narrative style (in the second half) that would characterize most of his work. It does not come off as a disjointed movie, however, but rather a natural flow… perhaps as Apu’s life gains purpose and direction, so does his story. Rating: Great (90)


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Noir-cember? 2015: Stakeout on Dope Street

Posted by martinteller on December 12, 2015

An arrest gets ambushed by thugs, leaving the suspect dead, one cop dead and another cop in intensive care. And also, lying in nearby weeds, a briefcase containing two pounds of uncut heroin. The case ends up in the hands of three kids: would-be boxer Nick (Steven Marlo), aspiring artist Jim (Yale Wexler) and all-around goofball Ves (Jonathan Haze). When the youngsters realize what they’ve got, they imagine it to be their ticket to wealth. But how to profit from their treasure when both the cops and the criminals are hunting for the stuff? Enter Nick’s co-worker Danny (Allen Kramer), a two-bit junkie who knows how to move the dope.

This is one of the movies I didn’t get around to watching for Noir-vember, but better late than never. Because it’s surprisingly good. I don’t want to get too effusive with my praise (when digging through lesser-known noirs, you’re thrilled to find one that ranks above mediocre), so I’ll start off by saying it’s far from a masterpiece. Let’s start with the premise. Comedian John Mulaney has a hilarious bit about how cops in the old movies are shockingly lax about their detective work. Here we have a briefcase sitting within throwing distance of a major crime scene — a scene where a policeman was murdered — and apparently not one cop sees it, or if they do, they don’t bother to check it out. Even for 1958, that’s pretty hard to swallow. The performances aren’t great, and each of the three actors playing “kids” is around 30 years old and they look it (the characters’ ages are never explicitly mentioned, but they’re clearly supposed to be teenagers… 20 at the most). And the moralistic messages of the story can be rather ham-fisted.

But it’s got a lot going for it. The dialogue is well-polished, with a lot of contemporary lingo and snappy lines. Some of it is actually kind of laughable but that’s part of the fun. The cinematography is by the great Haskell Wexler (working under a pseudonym because it was a non-union picture), working on one of his first films. Right from the opening, with its grimy alleyways and low angles, it’s a very nicely shot picture. Some of the scenes are a little flat, but for the most part it’s got a lot of style. In the editing as well, such as a late scene that makes sudden cuts between vicious beatings and the violent rhythms of bowling balls and pinballs. The music — by the “Hollywood Chamber Jazz Group” — is really fantastic, too. A lot of driving jive with insistent high-hat and standup bass, sometimes venturing from cool jazz into the realm of the avant-garde.

Also remarkable is a 7-minute sequence narrated by Allen Kramer (the only performance in the film that rises above average) as Danny tells Jim about what it’s like to be on heroin… and more importantly, what it’s like to try to kick the habit. While The Man With the Golden Arm had been released a few years earlier, this still feels remarkably honest and realistic for its time. Few films were addressing drug use in such detailed terms, especially without seeming like a square’s idea of it. It’s a gripping sequence with dramatic camerawork, bold not only for its style but also for daring to take us out of the immediate narrative for such a long period. Others may find it a distraction, or heavy-handed scare tactics, but I was impressed with the nerve of it.

The movie covers a lot of noir territory, all of it competently. The finger of fate intervening and tempting the innocent to crime. The frustrated desires of the lower/middle class to stand out and make it big. The relentlessness of the corrupt. Desperation, moral ambiguity, being trapped, feeling unable to rely on the usual authority figures. The film isn’t especially grim, but it does have darkness in it. It’s definitely noir.

None of the actors in this movie went on to greatness, or anything of much note. However, it was the first feature film by Irvin Kershner, who would later make a name for himself directing another movie about three reckless kids flirting with danger: The Empire Strikes Back. Rating: Very Good (84)


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Pather Panchali (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on December 5, 2015

I have been waiting for this for a decade. I first saw this movie 12 years ago, and was instantly won over, despite the wretched print that was available. It was my intro to Satyajit Ray, and I rapidly absorbed as much of his work as I could (I have now seen everything he ever directed, and he’s tied with Bergman as my favorite director). I watched the film again a couple of years later. It still held its incredible power, even when seen in such shabby condition. But there was word of a massive restoration being done on “The Apu Trilogy”, and that Criterion would eventually release it. So I held my breath. I told myself I wasn’t going to watch it again until I could see it in its restored glory. I passed up an opportunity to see it on the big screen — a decision I regret — but I knew it was coming to Blu-Ray.

And at last, it is here. And yes, it looks astonishing. Working from damaged source materials, there are still spots that are rough, but it’s a massive improvement over the muddy, battered, poorly-subtitled version I first saw. Ray’s poetic artistry — all the more impressive for being his first film — shines in this presentation, highlighting all those little things he wants to observe. The wave of the tall grass, the start of a rainstorm, the skin of a guava, the play of kittens.

But more than natural delights, Ray observes people. People going about the business of being human. Jealousies and suspicions among neighbors. The antics of child siblings… sometimes playful, sometimes bitter. A mother trying to motivate her naive dreamer of a husband. Or a husband who has naive dreams of writing for a living. Past glories, future hopes, daily struggles and whimsical diversions. Ray at his best takes all of life and puts it on his canvas, unadorned. Polished, perhaps, with a veneer of kindness, understanding and empathy. Satyajit Ray makes you love his characters so deeply, it’s almost magical. There is no guiding conflict driving the narrative foward. There isn’t a problem to be solved in a thrilling climax. It’s just spending time with people and seeing what makes human beings so endearing.

It is called “The Apu Trilogy” but that’s a misleading label. If the story of Pather Panchali is about anyone, it’s about Durga (wonderful performances at different ages by Runki Banerjee and Uma Das Gupta). She’s not a special little girl. She isn’t gifted with exceptional intelligence or a unique talent. She doesn’t spew witty dialogue, in fact she doesn’t even have all that many lines. She’s just an ordinary child. But you can feel everything she’s going through, her triumphs and joys and her disappointments and shames. You can feel her love for “Auntie” Indir, her protectiveness of Apu, her resentment towards her mother (who is perpetually stuck in the role of being the stern parent, while the father — when he’s actually around — always gets to be the nice guy). You don’t realize how close you feel to Durga until late in the film. Because even in his bluntest moments (like the mother talking about how she, too, once had dreams) Ray has a gentle touch, one that warmly invites you to stand with him and observe.

And oh man, I haven’t even mentioned Ravi Shankar’s amazing score. So good. Really looking forward to revisiting the other two films. It’s been far too long. Rating: Masterpiece (98)


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We Are the Best!

Posted by martinteller on November 30, 2015

Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin) don’t fit in with the other 7th graders. Their rebellious attitude and love of punk music makes them outcasts… and they don’t care. They pretend to have a band just to wrest control of the youth center rehearsal room from an annoying rock group. But their prankish whim turns into a hobby. And when they recruit Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), a reserved Christian, to play guitar, it becomes something more.

I promised myself I wasn’t going to draw a bunch of comparisons to Linda Linda Linda. That’s one of my top 5 movies, it just wouldn’t be fair. Both films are about school-aged girls in an amateur band, and both also use that framework to facilitate an exploration of youth and youth culture in general. But there’s no need to go pointing out parallels or contrasts. Let’s discuss Lukas Moodysson’s movie on its own terms.

The film employs Moodysson’s usual handheld technique to its usual effectiveness. There is a realism and honesty here that grounds the generally light-hearted proceedings. The drama is never overblown, and for the most part these feel like genuine kids dealing with genuine problems. The lengthy subplot about Bobo and Klara competing for a boy’s attention felt a little contrived (and familiar) and it was by far my least favorite section of the film… but I can’t say any of the interactions came off as particularly phony.

The actual business of being in a band takes a backseat to the story of three girls trying to carve out identities for themselves. Punk music is the perfect milieu for them, it embodies an outlook that rejects everything you’ve been told by adults. Punk can be childish and adolescent, but what is more fitting for children on the verge of adolescence? The attitude can make them unlikable — Klara especially — but I appreciate that Moodysson isn’t afraid to let kids make the mistakes that kids frequently make. Klara’s snotty confrontation of Hedvig’s religious beliefs makes you cringe a little bit, but you have to accept that youths are going to try on different personas and attitudes, and that punk youths especially are going to be kinda shitty about it.

The soundtrack is entirely Swedish punk music. I was afraid it might be a parade of the usual suspects — Sex Pistols, Clash, Buzzcocks, Dead Kennedys. Instead it was all bands completely unfamiliar to me, but I assume would be known to any Swedish punk fans circa 1982. It wasn’t especially good punk, but it was refreshing nonetheless. I also liked the reference to the documentary A Respectable Life.

In all, it was a pleasant film about three interesting kids who are determined to live on their own terms. I would have liked less of the love triangle, and a little more about Hedvig, but overall it’s pretty enjoyable. And in its own punky way, sweet. Rating: Good (75)


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Noir-vember 2015: Revolt in the Big House

Posted by martinteller on November 14, 2015

They’ve finally managed to make a charge stick against big-time baddie Lou Gannon (Gene Evans), and he’s sent up to the pen for 20 years. But he doesn’t intend to stay there long. He teams up with the reigning bully in the prison yard, Ed “Bugsy” Kyle (Timothy Carey) and they start smuggling in gun parts. But when one of their crew gets a bad case of nerves, they look for a replacement. Enter Lou’s cellmate, Rudy Hernandez (Robert Blake), a naive kid who unwillingly drove the getaway car during a liquor store robbery. Rudy’s got a good chance of getting out in three years… until Lou hatches a plot involving Capt. Starkey (Walter Barnes), the racist head guard. A plot that makes Rudy a little more angry, and a little more desperate.

You may have already guessed why I wanted to see this picture. I’m a big fan of Tim Carey, who never fails to command the screen with his huge, often bizarre, performances. Here he’s once again pulling focus every chance he gets, all lunatic sneers and Brando mumbles. There’s just no holding this guy down, and my biggest complaint is that there’s not enough of him in the movie. Blake playing a Hispanic character may raise an eyebrow or two, but he does it with admirable sensitivity and restraint… a slight accent, not cartoonish enough to be truly offensive. As for Evans, he’s fine but didn’t do a lot for me. He’s good enough for a secondary role, but doesn’t have the stuff for a lead.

The film is routine jailbreak stuff, nothing you haven’t seen in earlier, better pictures like CrashoutBrute Force or Riot in Cell Block 11. But the familiar can still be enjoyable, and neither the script nor the direction (R.G. Springsteen, primarily a Western director) falters in any major way. And the film pulls off a neat trick with its bookend scenes. The widescreen cinematography is fine, although the sets definitely look pretty cheap.

Unlikely to top anyone’s list of great prison movies, but an all-around decent flick and an enjoyable way to kill 80 minutes. Rating: Good (75)


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Noir-vember 2015: No Man’s Woman

Posted by martinteller on November 12, 2015

Carolyn Grant (Marie Windsor) owns an art gallery. A lot of people would like to see her dead. First there’s her husband Harlow (John Archer). They’ve been separated for two years, but Carolyn won’t grant him a divorce unless he pays an exorbitant settlement. Then there’s Louise (Nancy Gates), the woman Harlow wants to marry, and Harlow’s father (Douglas Wood), who can’t stand to see his son’s happiness being held captive. Not to mention Carolyn’s assistant Betty Allen (Jil Jarmyn) and her beau Dick Sawyer (Richard Crane), who have been torn apart by Carolyn’s eff0rts to seduce Dick. And don’t forget Wayne Vincent (Patric Knowles), the art critic who she’s been dating, but only to use him for the free publicity. Yeah, a lot of people would like to see Carolyn Grant dead. So who killed her?

I guess you can call that a spoiler, since the murder happens more than halfway through the 69-minute film. But it’s given away by the few other reviews on the internet and pretty much by the film’s own poster. Besides, once the killing occurs, you could probably shut the movie off. All the best stuff is Windsor being awful and manipulative. It’s similar to (but not as fantastic as) her role in The Killing, a real snake of a woman. As a Marie Windsor fan, I lapped it up.

Unfortunately, after that it becomes a ho-hum whodunit, with Archer taking on the role of detective… doing the work that you’d think the cops would be doing, but they seem content to let him do all the footwork. The answer to the mystery is neither satisfying nor unsatisfying. It just is what it is, and who cares because the one great character is gone. None of the technical aspects are worth mentioning, and for noir atmosphere there’s not much to chew on. Almost every scene takes place in bright sunshine or a well-lit interior. There’s some good dialogue, but it dries up once Carolyn is out of the picture. Rating: Fair (62)


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