Friday, May 22, 2009

Queens of the "B"s

Another entry in our popular "Campy Movie Posters" series...

Lady Gangster (1942)

Faye Emerson in a remake of the pre-code Ladies They Talk About (1933) with the serial numbers filed off. Possibly even less realistic as a prison movie than the original, with all of the "girls school" look to the place and none of the veiled references to lesbianism or prostitution that the original was allowed due to the lack of a production code.

The Counterfeiters (1948)

John Sutton is an undercover detective following the trail of phony money from London to L.A. The main attraction of this movie for me was Hugh Beaumont as the vicious head of the counterfeiting ring. For those of us who grew up in the 50s, seeing "Ward Cleaver" beat the crap out of an undercover cop is somewhat jarring. Doris Merrick has some really good moments as Beaumont's moll.

Forgotten Women (1949)

This one deserves to be forgotten. The only reason for watching it at all is for the culture shock of Lois Lane (Noel Neill) boozing it up with Veda Ann Borg and the other ladies sloshing around Harry's Bar whining about their love lives. (or lack thereof) For comic relief, they wrap their cars around trees in the process of driving themselves home.

Three Secrets (1950)

Three women review their past lives while they wait for news that will change the future totally for one of them. Sound familiar? Each of the three women had borne a son 5 years before and put him up for adoption at the same shelter. This clone of A Letter to Three Wives (1949) derives it's suspense from the audience not knowing until the end which woman's son has survived a plane crash.

Lightning Strikes Twice (1951)

Here we have a wooden Richard Todd leaving a trail of sawdust in the desert sands while Ruth Roman snoozes through her part as the actress on vacation who falls instantly into fascination with Todd. Zachary Scott and Mercedes McCambridge both act rings around the two leads, but aren't given anything much to do.

The Unholy Four (1954)

Philip Vickers mysteriously reappears to his wife and friends during a party at her upscale country estate after an absence of four years. He had been presumed dead after he disappeared on a fishing trip in Portugal with three friends. He was knocked unconscious and pushed overboard by an unknown assailant. In the interim, he had suffered from amnesia but now has regained his faculties. All the potential suspects, including his wife, are at the party. When one of them is killed, the police are called in, and suspicion for the crime falls on the vengeful Vickers

River Beat (1954)

A London police inspector (John Bentley) is patrolling the river looking for smugglers, when he becomes attracted to a woman (Phyllis Kirk) working as a ship's radio operator. When the woman turns up in possession of some smuggled gems, the inspector must determine whether she knew about them or was just being used. If she is guilty, he must arrest her in spite of his feelings. If she is innocent, he must protect her from the smuggling gang, which is known to silence anyone who might talk.

Three Bad Sisters (1955)

A millionaire dies in an airplane crash, leaving all of his money to be divided among his three daughters. One of the daughters doesn't want to share any of it, so she plans to get rid of her two sisters. One reviewer described this one as "Suds'd-up trash so blatantly, vulgarly bold it beggars all description."

Blonde Bait (1956)

Tired of the humdrum routine at a staid British woman's prison, brassy American dancer Angela Booth (Beverly Michaels) busts out. Scotland Yard decides to allow Angela to roam free, hoping that she'll lead them to her partner in crime. Blonde Bait was originally released in Great Britain as Women without Men. For American consumption, a few new scenes were shot, featuring Hollywood actors Jim Davis, Richard Travis, and Paul Cavanagh.

The Unholy Wife (1957)

Diana Dors plays a widow who lurks in bars cadging drinks from potential sugar-daddies. She meets and marries lonesome Rod Steiger, who runs a family vineyard in the California wine country. But she's restless and sullen, left in the huge gingerbread mansion with her aging mother-in-law (Beulah Bondi) and her pre-existing young son while Steiger stays obsessed with his casks and bottles. On the side, she romances a hired hand (Tom Tryon). Her dissatisfactions turn murderous, and she hatches a scheme to shoot her husband on the pretext that she mistook him for a prowler. Alas, she kills his best friend instead, but comes up with a ploy by which Steiger will be convicted of the murder.

She Walks By Night (1960)
a.k.a Die Wahrheit Uber Rosemarie

Based on an actual post-war murder in Frankfurt, this history of the case of Rosemarie, a hooker, and how she came to be strangled in her apartment is not completely clear. One of the suspects in the case was first charged, later acquitted, but never really free of an aura of culpability. British actress Belinda Lee plays the title role with her voice dubbed over in German.

1 comment:

  1. Great post -- wonderful selections! The Three Secrets poster is my favorite of the bunch.