|Index||4 reviews in total|
Although it has its moments, "Twelve Hours to Kill" is pretty much a
by- the-numbers wannabe "noir" with little imagination, style or flair,
hampered by a poor script, leaden direction and overwrought
performances by lead actor Nico Minardos and several supporting actors
(although Barbara Eden, as the romantic interest, is actually quite
good). The story is about a Greek immigrant who witnesses a mob hit and
flees to a small town with a pair of hit men after him, and finds out
that that the case not only involves murder but police corruption. A
director like Phil Karlson or Don Siegel could have made this into a
crackerjack thriller, but under longtime hack Edward L. Cahn it's
strictly routine. Minardos isn't a strong enough actor to carry a
picture, and even if he was the lame script would defeat him.
Other than a young and very pretty Barbara Eden, about the only reason to watch this picture is to see an early glimpse of Gavin McLeod and Ted Knight, later to be such memorable adversaries on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and playing adversaries here, with McLeod as a hit-man and Knight as a cop. Otherwise, there's really no need to spend any time watching this.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A Greek national living in New York happens to be a witness to a mob hit and must flee the city for a sleepy little town. He meets a woman (Barbara Eden) on the train ride to the small town. The mob has tentacles that reach within the NYPD and the hit men are alerted to the town as well. Thus it's Eden, who drives an extinct Sunbeam convertible and the hit men, one of whom is rather memorably played by Gavin Macleod, who drive around in a huge De Soto. It's worth mentioning the cars because the director Edward L. Cahn, somehow failed in this effort to create much tension or action, although things get a little dicey when Macleod and his partner start slapping Barbara Eden around. Overall a disappointment, especially considering the cinematographer was the great Floyd Crosby. Still, hats off to Edward L. Cahn for making at least somewhat cool movies destined for the drive-ins and the out-of-the-way and extinct theaters.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
That's one of those Edward L Cahn films I waited to see since so many
years, and that disappointed me. A flat plot about gangsters witnessed
by Greek immigrants during their crime. The usual tale of police force
which must protect the poor witnesses. Sleepy at the most. I don't
recommend it; except for the most desperate Edward L cahn fans.
However, he showed us in the past that he could do much better. But in that purpose, he had to have a solid script, good actors and a competent producer too.
Keep in mind that when you are to see a film directed by Edward L Cahn, you have to expect the worst of every thing you have ever seen.
This isn't a bad film, though it would be better if seen in the
original widescreen aspect ratio and with a better lead character. Many
of the credits are all good B pros doing B plus work and with some
future TV stars playing against what would their type later on. Gavin
Mcloud does especially well as a bad guy. Paul Dunlop's score is sparse
but interesting, piano and vibes during a final chase scene that keeps
Of course this is an A studio B film and so thing won't get too dark or unusual--that's the big studio's imposed rule. If this had been done by an outsider B studio they would have wanted it to be darker and tougher--both of which the story begs for. Then again the studio brings more of a polish especially in terms of the acting from the supporting parts.
Cahn's direction keeps things moving and professional, there isn't time for much coverage but DP and director come up with a few but significant moments when they get the chance.
It may seem kind of by the numbers but there is a nice, who is the bad guy behind the whole thing, scene at the end.
Ted Knight shows up playing a slovenly desk cop--seemingly warming up with his similar role in Psycho.
But what sucks some life out of the film is the lead. Is it that the actor wants to look charming or sexy all the time, or was it written or directed that way--or a combo of all three? Here's the problem despite the danger the lead Greek Immigrant character faces he seems to always be ready to burst into a wide smile and flirt with a girl he just met--though with it being Barbara Eden at least that part makes sense. It's as if the character is supposed to be so amazed by being in America he doesn't understand that getting shot here is just as deadly as back in the old country. I'd tend to blame the lead actor, but it's almost a slightly racist view of the "innocent" foreigner in America for the first time.
The movie threatens to turn into dopey fish out of water sexless romance, after the set up witness-to-murder-scene. There is a goofy scene with a dog named Dracula for example.
But then things improve steadily, leading to a simple but well done chase and fight scene at night that seems to involve some very good day for night B and W photography and a few real nighttime exteriors.
There is a hostage segment where all the best elements are working at the same time. Eden and Mcloud doing good work and a nice dolly shot and expressive angles--subtle but effective...
Low budget elements are kept under control, though there is a seemingly deserted neighborhood filled with middle class houses--none of which seem to notice a noisy shoot out that begs the question--really no one would call the police?!? This is probably the real problem with the movie because if the lead character in danger for his life seems to be more amused than confused and afraid....
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