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Murder Can Be Deadly (1962)

The Painted Smile (original title)
Jo Lake and Mark Davies, working the "outraged husband" racket, fall foul of the sinister Kleinie. Jo, all for quitting, is persuaded by Mark to find one more victim before they leave and ... See full summary »



(story and screenplay), (story and screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jo Lake
Kenneth Griffith ...
Peter Reynolds ...
Tony Wickert ...
Craig Douglas ...
Nightclub singer
Ray Smith ...
Harold Berens ...
Grazina Frame ...
Richard McNeff ...
Police Inspector
Gerald Sim ...
Plain Clothes Policeman
Rosemary Chalmers ...
Mia Karam ...
Terence Maidment ...
1st Henchman


Jo Lake and Mark Davies, working the "outraged husband" racket, fall foul of the sinister Kleinie. Jo, all for quitting, is persuaded by Mark to find one more victim before they leave and quit. She goes to the club where she operates and persuades a very-drunk young student, Tom, who has just won a hundred pounds, to go back to her flat. Mark, hiding there, hears footsteps mounting the stairs, but instead of Jo, the ugly, crippled Kleinie appears and coldly and callousy stabs Mark, leaving the body in Jo's bedroom. When she arrives with Tom, Kleinie phones and tells her to look in her bedroom. Jo tells Tom that the police will blame him and she persuades him to get his car and dispose of the body. Still somewhat drunk, his erratic driving causes him to be stopped by the police. Tom escapes. His friends, Glynn and Roy call on his fiancée, Mary, after reading in the paper about the body found in his car and that the police are after him. Tom arrives and his two friends set out to find ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

May 1962 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Murder Can Be Deadly  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Peter Reynolds and Craig Douglas both have "guest star" credits. See more »


Painted Smile
Sung by Craig Douglas
Composed by Martin Slavin
Lyrics by Abbe Gail
See more »

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User Reviews

good British B-picture
4 January 2003 | by See all my reviews

There is something engaging about these B-movies and usually one or two points of interest. In this instance that comes from seeing Liz Fraser in a leading role. It would be labouring the point to say she is required to stretch her acting muscles here, and in fact she is required more to squeeze her gargantuan bosom into tight negligees, but I always welcome the chance to see one of Britain's comedy stalwarts in a straight role. In fact the film has a few faces who went on to better things, including an almost unrecognisable Griffith as the cheif villain and a fresh-faced Hemmings before he turned into the corpulent Ken Russell-lookalike he is today. There is also a chance to see Nanette Newman doing what in an early 1960s B-movie passed for acting; she is beautiful though.

As far as being an entry in the British crime genre is concerned the film is rather disappointing. The synopsis I had led me to believe the plot concerned rival gang bosses fighting over a girl. The truth is that gangsterism is used purely as a backdrop for a series of events which befall the student. In fact, despite Fraser's top billing, the film shifts its focus away from Jo Lake and settles on Tom, as soon as he gets the corpse into his car. In that way the film resembles not so much a gangster film, or even an underworld film, as what was called in the 1980s a 'yuppie nightmare' movie, in the manner of AFTER HOURS or SOMETHING WILD.

Despite the strides towards realism which had been made in the genre this film insists on using a very dated portrayal of crimelords. Kleinie is coded as anything but a macho figure: he has a club foot, has an effeminacy about him, is clearly not from the working classes, and conducts operations (about which we learn nothing) from an oak-panelled office lined with books. Furthermore he is played by Kenneth Griffith, not an actor noted for his physical presence or menace.

Having said all that the film does have its own charm and it is remarkable to think, at a time when film production here has slumped, that Britain once had such a thriving industry and produced second features, such as this, to support the main film.

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