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The co-owner of a racetrack discovers that his partner has sold out to a gangster. The gangster plans to take sole control of the track and plans to get rid of his new partner. The partner's problems are just beginning, though, as he finds himself involved with a beautiful woman who, unknown to him, was involved in a hit-and-run and is trying to set him up for the crime. Written by
Film wanders between soap opera and mystery;Barker is good
Like a lot of Universal-International's 1950s output, THE PRICE OF FEAR is a studio-bound soap opera that borders on kitsch, but within that soap opera, star Lex Barker and an exciting plot in the Hitchcock vein struggle to make the film something better. Barker plays the co-owner of a racetrack where the mob is trying to muscle in. One night, he happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people and his life begins unravelling and he goes on the run. Unfortunately, Merle Oberon enters the picture. I don't know if Ms. Oberon had something else on her mind while making this picture, but she seems to be posing for still photographs throughout the film. Oh, she's gorgeous! glamorous! stunning! But her posing and gown-modeling belongs in a 1920s Gloria Swanson vehincle--or maybe a PARODY of a 1920s Swanson vehicle! It's hard to believe that a savvy character, such as the racetrack owner played by Barker, would fall in love with such a cipher as Oberon's character. If you can forget the soap-opera elements of the plot, there's a good mystery here...and the climax and ending are genuinely surprising. However, only devoted Barker fans should try to find this film.
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