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No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 15 April 1948 (UK)
John Blandish is worth $100 million. His heiress daughter is soon to be wed to Foster Harvey, who believes she's a cold, unfeeling woman, despite loving her. Her cold emotional state is in ... See full summary »


(as St. John L. Clowes)


(book), (as St. John L. Clowes)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Linden Travers ...
Walter Crisham ...
MacDonald Parke ...
Doc (as Macdonald Parke)
Lilli Molnar ...
Ma Grisson (as Lilly Molnar)
Charles Goldner ...
Zoe Gail ...
Margo (as Zoë Gail)
Richard Neilson ...
Riley (as Richard Nelson)
Michael Balfour ...
Frances Marsden ...
Jack Lester ...
Bill O'Connor ...


John Blandish is worth $100 million. His heiress daughter is soon to be wed to Foster Harvey, who believes she's a cold, unfeeling woman, despite loving her. Her cold emotional state is in large part due to leading a restricted life. A low level thug named Johnny overhears their secret wedding night plans, and peddles the idea of robbing her of the $100,000 worth of diamond jewelry with which she will be adorned to two groups of his gangster acquaintances, who are in competition with each other. The robbery doesn't go quite according to plan, with Miss Blandish ultimately being kidnapped and held under the eye of Slim Grisson, the heir apparent as head of the violent Grisson gang, currently run by Ma Grisson. Kidnapping holds higher risk but possible greater reward as everyone figures they can get at least $1 million for her. Ma has no plans of letting her go, killing her after getting the money. But a surprise move by Slim, who has a secret past with Miss Blandish, turns the tables ... Written by Huggo

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SHOCKING as a book! SENSATIONAL as a motion picture!


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

15 April 1948 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Black Dice  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film caused huge controversy in the UK after it was passed with an uncut "A" rating on account of the violence and rape implied in the story, leading to critic Dilys Powell stating that the film be "branded with a 'D' certificate for disgusting". This led to various councils banning the film completely and politicians demanding an investigation into the running of the BBFC. Censor Sir Sidney Harris was forced to issue an apology for having "failed to protect the public". See more »


Eddie Schultz: I never count my chickens till I've wrung their necks.
See more »


Version of The Grissom Gang (1971) See more »


When he'd got it, did he want it?
Music & lyrics by George Melachrino & James Dyrenforth
Performed by Zoe Gail
See more »

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No Orchids For Miss Blandish (St. John L. Clowes, 1948) **1/2
19 February 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This British gangster thriller from a sensationalistic American crime novel by James Hadley Chase (also filmed on its home ground in 1971 by Robert Aldrich as THE GRISSOM GANG) is notorious for how awful it is, some claiming it "among the worst ever made", others "certainly the most bizarre British film"! This unenviable reputation (which the writer-director could not attempt to alter or otherwise exploit since he would die at age 40 that same year!) has actually turned it into a cult, enabling a R1 SE DVD from VCI.

Having been impressed with the Aldrich version and being something of a sucker for bad cinema (especially from this vintage), I acquired the film immediately when the opportunity presented itself though I only got to watch BLANDISH now as part of my ongoing Noir marathon. As often happens, the movie is nowhere near the stinker most claim it to be: granted, the performances are hilariously over-the-top (thus a fount of entertainment in itself!), the would-be American accents do not fool anyone (there is even future "Carry On" stalwart Sidney James, for cryin' out loud, not to mention a stand-up comic amusingly spoofing the Hollywood double-act of Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre!) and, frankly, the gall of it all makes the experience that much more fascinating, almost hypnotic!

In comparison with the later version (but typical of its era), the leads here are over-age: they are Jack LaRue (the only genuine Yank in the cast: incidentally, he is far removed from the Mama's Boy as played by Scott Wilson in the remake) and Linden Travers (previously noted for supporting parts in spy thrillers like Hitchcock's superb THE LADY VANISHES [1938], she is the personification of elegance rather than Kim Darby's society brat). Incidentally, both novel and film(s) were criticized for glorifying violence (this is indeed quite brutal for the time) and the notion of 'Amour Fou' since the kidnapped heiress ends up falling for her psychotic captor. Other notable characters are the obese Mob-leading mother (Lilly Molnar), a no-less unhinged member of the gang who becomes involved with the girl who ultimately gives them away (Walter Crisham 'standing in' for Tony Musante), a thuggish cohort (played by Danny Green, later of THE LADYKILLERS [1955]), and a crusading reporter (a much-younger Hugh McDermott 'replacing' Robert Lansing).

The photography (by Gerald Gibbs) is reasonably atmospheric, smoothing over the general amateurishness on display, and there is another definite asset in its lush score. However, one major difference from the obviously superior remake is the film's surprisingly downbeat ending. For the record, I recently acquired another rare Hadley Chase adaptation, the French-made FLESH OF THE ORCHID (1975) – co-scripted by Luis Bunuel regular Jean-Claude Carriere!

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