Can you believe: The Velvet Fog as Comintern agent?
The Fearmakers stands as one of the stragglers in the Red-Scare cycle, which ran from the late 1940s pretty much until 1962, when John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate blew it to smithereens. (The studios, running scared, churned them out but the public shunned them in droves.) This one benefits from the talents of director Jacques Tourneur (The Cat People, Out of the Past) and noir icon Dana Andrews; it also features a young Mel Torme as a pusillanimous lackey who relies too much on stage business (mopping his brow, fiddling with his glasses). The movie is somewhat elevated, too, by working with themes that resonate today: How polls and focus groups can be manipulated by well-heeled special interest lobbies -- how, in fact, they can be made to say absolutely anything. Here, it's the disarmament movement, viewed of course as nothing more than a Commie plot. Inevitably, The Fearmakers degenerates into stereotypes as simple as Veda Ann Borg's big round puss.
15 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?