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Man Bait (1952)

The Last Page (original title)
The married owner of a bookstore is attracted to his sexy blonde clerk. He finally gives in to temptation and makes a pass at her, but that only results in him getting enmeshed in blackmail and murder.



(screenplay), (original story)

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Complete credited cast:
John Harman
Stella Tracy
Raymond Huntley ...
Clive Oliver
Peter Reynolds ...
Jeffrey Hart
Eleanor Summerfield ...
Meredith Edwards ...
Inspector Dale
Harry Fowler ...
Ruby Bruce
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sybil Saxon ...
Bank Clerk (scenes deleted)


John Harman (George Brent), manager of an Oxford Street bookstore, reprimands an attractive young clerk, Ruby Bruce (Diana Dors), for being late to work. The same day Ruby catches Jeff Hart (Peter Reynolds) stealing a rare book, but instead of reporting him she accepts a date with him. That night, before her date, Ruby is working late with Harman, who, in a fleeting moment of intimacy, kisses her. He apologizes but later Jeff forces Ruby to blackmail Harman. When he refuses to pay off, Jeff tells Ruby to write a letter to Harman's wife, which causes her death from a heart attack. Dazed by the tragedy, Harman gives Ruby 400 pounds when she renews her demands. Jeff catches Ruby hiding part of the money, kills her and hides her body in a packing case. Harman discovers Ruby's body and realizing he will be suspect, flees in panic. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Built for Blackmail! See more »


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


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Release Date:

25 January 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Man Bait  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Diana Dors receives an "introducing" credit, yet she has appeared in over a dozen other features. See more »


Where does Jeffery Hart get a key to open the case to try and steal a rare book? See more »


Referenced in Buccaneer Soul (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

Man Bait - only a modest catch for the viewer
16 May 2009 | by (London) – See all my reviews

In 1950, before Hammer made a name for itself with a memorable horror output, it set up a deal with American producer Robert L. Lippert to make a dozen or so low budget crime dramas, all of which were to be shot in the UK. In all the arrangement lasted for some five years, and utilised the fading star qualities of such past-their-sell-date American talent such as Dane Clark, Paul Henreid, Lizabeth Scott and George Brent, as well as leading British character actors.

None of the films are of the front rank, being issued originally on the bottom half of double bills. Hammer may not have established itself as a memorable producer of noir on the basis of this transatlantic deal, but the results have been unfairly neglected (being the basis of only a passing reference in the official history of the studio for instance).

Criticism of the films, apart from focusing on their small budgets and hand-me-down leads, has generally dwelt on the success or otherwise of transplanting an American hardboiled genre into a different soil. Certainly the first of those made under the new arrangement The Last Page (aka: Man Bait, 1952) is example. Far too genteel to be successful as more than a mildly suspenseful thriller, its impact is further affected by the unassuming performance of lead George Brent - an actor whom Betty Davies apparently liked as a partner on screen as it was so easy to steal the picture from him! Brent plays the manager of a bookshop, hardly the first choice for a thriller/ noir setting (although one makes a memorable appearance in The Big Sleep) who is blackmailed by the bad blonde of the title - no less than Diana Dors, an early screen role. It was an early credit too for one of Hammer's best directors Terence Fisher, though again this critic, at least, thinks he remains a minor talent. Like practically all the Hammer films in this series, the title was changed for the American market and 'Man Bait' certainly sounds more the job for the pulp world that the films inhabit. It also places Dors firmly at the centre of this film with a fine sense of atmosphere - having worked in the book trade for some years I found the dated interiors and procedures especially fascinating

  • while some other, equally effective location shooting amidst a

now-lost London adds to the charm.

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