Reviews written by registered user

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32 reviews in total 
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A good, fast moving B feature, 2 March 2014

I have to disagree quite strongly with the other review. The narrative of this film is most certainly not one we have seen a million times or more. It is highly original and well worth describing.

A gang of high class corporate thieves use blackmail to induce their victims to sell property at knock-down prices. The victims refuse to talk to the police. A police inspector is aware of the racket and persuades a shifty private investigator to work for the gang while reporting back to him. The P. I. joins the crooks, none of whom trusts the others, and each of them tries to enlist his services for their own exclusive advantage. There are two murders and it is not clear until the last surprise twist scene who committed the second murder.

The Share-Out has an excellent cast including Alexander Knox and Bernard Lee. As with all these Edgar Wallace films, the story unfolds quickly and the audience is never bored.

The Verdict: enjoyable but implausible., 8 December 2013

The Verdict is typical of the Edgar Wallace films that were made quickly and cheaply in the early 1960s in Britain. The main story is not credible but the film is so tightly edited that the audience does not notice until the film has ended.

An American gangster has been deported to England but when he arrives a police detective informs him that he is suspected of murdering a man several years previously. The gangster demands that a colleague try to corrupt members of the jury. His colleague is reluctant but as he investigates various possibilities, an idea occurs to him. An idea also occurs to the gangster's mistress. Each idea produces a plot twist at the end of the film.

The Verdict has an interesting cast, three of whom later appeared in James Bond films: Zena Marshall, Paul Stassino and Cec Linder. Nigel Davenport plays the gangster's partner.

As was always the case with this series of Edgar Wallace films, The Verdict was well photographed.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
One of the best in the Edgar Wallace series., 10 November 2013

Strangler's Web is an interesting story about a murder that is not nearly as open-and-shut as it first seems. The characters are unconventional and are well-drawn by both the screenplay and the actors while the investigation into what really happened trawls through various strata of British society.

The opening scene where the murder takes place borrows ideas from the pre-credit sequence of From Russia With Love. The murdered woman's common-law husband is found at the scene and is the obvious suspect. A solicitor with a drink problem and a tendency to beat his wife is appointed to prepare the defence. He finds that the suspect's conduct towards the murdered woman was not unlike his own towards his wife. He pulls himself together and gets to work. He comes across a wide variety of people including a confidence trickster, an air-brained young woman and a disfigured ex-matinée idol.

Not a moment is wasted in Strangler's Web and the pace never lets up. As were the other films in this Edgar Wallace series, the movie is well- photographed and edited.

Choose your partners carefully!, 2 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Partners In Crime is fairly typical of the films adapted from Edgar Wallace stories and made for very little money at Merton Park Studios within a three week shooting schedule. The basic story line is no more than adequate but the fast pace of the movie keeps the audience interested.

A man arranges for his business partner to be murdered. He employs the services of a man who is so unreliable that he does not dispose of the murder weapon and lets his girl friend know he has mysteriously come into big money. The murder weapon is then stolen and eventually falls into the hands of the police. It is then just a matter of time.

Bernard Lee plays the investigating police officer and does rather well. Unfortunately most of the other actors give substandard performances. As with all the films in this series, the lighting and editing is first class and the movie is never dull.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A good B feature that holds the attention, 30 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Man Who Was Nobody is one of the best in the Edgar Wallace series. Although one or two minor details in the story don't add up, the core narrative is good and holds the audience's attention at all times.

A slick young man buys a jewel with a cheque that bounces. He then disappears and both the police and a secretive lawyer try to find him. The lawyer hires a good-looking woman to track down the missing man and to tell him that "South Africa Smith is coming back" Her search leads her to beatnik cellars, smart, illegal gambling parties and prestigious mews in Chelsea. The missing man's body is later found in the Thames but the case is by no means over.

As with all the other films in this series, The Man Who Was Nobody is well photographed and edited and does not drag its feet at any time. Where this film does differ from others in the series is in the female lead. Hazel Court is far better looking and quite a bit sexier than most of the leading actresses in the other Edgar Wallace movies.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
No Dog In The Fight, No Horse In The Race, 7 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Never Back Losers is another in the British series of B feature movies based on the stories of Edgar Wallace. As was so often the case in this series, the basic story does not make sense but this was concealed by the film's very brisk pace.

Two rival gangs of crooks are trying to "fix" horse races and a jockey is coshed and left for dead in a stage-managed car crash. An insurance investigator makes routine enquiries into the "accident" and one of the gang leaders feels threatened by this and takes counter measures. This central premise of a gang leader being worried about an insurance investigator looking for an excuse not pay the insurance claim does not make any sense. All the investigator needed to do was to point out that he was not a police officer and that it was none of his business who committed which offence.

The acting in Never Back Losers is variable. Jack Hedley is quite good as the amiable insurance investigator and Patrick Magee is very good as the sinister gang leader. Jacqueline Ellis is an attractive heroine despite the confused screenplay doing her no favours. Unfortunately, some of the other actors give quite bad performances.

The photography and lighting are very good for a film with a 20 days shooting schedule, and the editing is tight and well paced.

Backfire (1962)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Low budget, high entertainment., 4 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The 1962 film Backfire - there have been several with this title - is a cheaply made British B feature adapted from a story by Edgar Wallace.

A cosmetic company is trading at a loss and has severe cash flow problems. One of the partners, Mitchell Logan, suggests starting a fire and claiming the insurance money but the company's founder disagrees. Logan goes ahead anyway and bit by bit things go wrong, forcing Logan to become ever more criminal. The core narrative is unoriginal but the the film is so tightly edited that the audience's attention never wavers.

The film's main interest today lies in presenting two small-time actors who are now remembered because of one famous role. Zena Marshall who was exploited by a very caddish James Bond in Doctor No here plays Logan's wife and does so adequately but with no hint of the sexiness she brought to her role in Doctor No. Alfred Burke who was soon to become a household name playing Frank Marker in the television series The Public Eye here plays Mitchell Logan and very persuasively makes him sinister and unpleasant and almost the opposite of Frank Marker.

As was the case with all the Edgar Wallace series, the film is well photographed and edited.

The Set Up (1963)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Really Good B Feature, 23 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Set-Up is an excellent B feature with a good story, persuasive acting and sharp, clear photography. The narrative moves forward constantly, yields several surprises and does not depend on silly coincidences or characters behaving in ways that defy belief. When the final plot twist is revealed, everything we have seen makes sense.

Arthur Payne, recently out of prison, meets a stranger, Theo Gaunt, on a train and explains his situation. A few days later another stranger makes a curious proposition. Arthur should participate in a fake robbery and remove some imitation jewelry from the stranger's own safe. They agree and money passes hands. When the fake robbery takes place, a woman walks into the room. She is later found dead.

Brian Peck gives a sympathetic performance as the ex prisoner caught in a nasty trap. Maurice Denham is pretty well perfect as Theo Gaunt, a business man who sets up a devious scheme and gets more that he bargained for. Best of all is Anthony Bate as a very smooth villain, with a performance so good that it is surprising he was not asked to play similar parts in larger productions.

The Set-Up is almost forgotten today and was quickly dismissed when new, but it deserves to be seen again.

Locker 69 (1962)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Enjoyable But Idiotic, 21 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Locker 69 is an enjoyable but idiotic B feature that was made in 20 days for very little money. While the film is running, it holds the audience's attention with numerous plot developments and mysterious characters. When the film is over, the absurdity of the story is glaringly obvious.

A shady business man has perpetrated a nasty fraud that has resulted in the death of large numbers of people. His business partner has kept evidence of the fraud which he keeps in locker 69 in a security vault. He has threatened the fraudster with exposure in the event of any further dishonest dealing. The fraudster suddenly receives death threats. He decides to fake his own murder in a plan both to get his hands on the evidence in locker 69 and to trick whoever is threatening him. The "murder" is investigated by the police, a private detective and a journalist.

The narrative of Locker 69 makes no sense at all and ideally should have been "re-imagined" by the screenwriter. Certainly the journalist is a character the film can do without. Nevertheless the film proceeds very briskly and there is not a dull moment anywhere. Edward Underdown is very good as the fraudster and the little known Clarissa Soltz makes a strong impression in her tiny part. The photography and lighting are surprisingly good for a movie shot so quickly and the tight editing makes sure no-one in the audience will be bored.

Poor story, good film., 16 March 2013

When a film is made very cheaply and within an extremely tight shooting schedule, the result is often embarrassing to watch. If such a film is adapted from a story by a much respected author, the narrative may hold the audience's attention even though the film has been badly made. Return To Sender reverses this expectation. Despite having been made in 20 days on a minimal budget, Return To Sender is a well made film with a sloppy narrative, based on a story by Edgar Wallace.

A corporate fraudster is arrested for stealing a large sum of money from his partners. He is informed that a particularly brilliant and persistent barrister will lead the prosecution against him. To undermine the credibility of the barrister, the fraudster engages the services of a sleazy individual who specialises in dirty tricks and smear tactics. The plan is set in motion but the fraudster intends to twist it to ruin both the barrister and the scheme's architect.

The central premise of Return To Sender does not make sense because evidence in a case is obtained by the police, not the prosecuting barrister. The story is further weakened by relying on two totally implausible coincidences and the final nail in the coffin is that the fraudster has no reason to betray the man he has hired.

Despite the very poor material, Return To Sender is an enjoyable movie. Most of the acting is quite good and it is probable that with a longer shooting schedule, the acting would have been better still. Geoffrey Keen and Nigel Davenport were two ultra professional actors and both give excellent performances. William Russell is consistently interesting as the seemingly unemotional black arts practitioner. The exuberantly feminine Yvonne Romain overplays her role slightly. It would have been better if she had not delivered her lines so forcefully and had spoken a little more slowly, but she is so good-looking that many viewers will not care!

The camera work is admirable. As is so often the case in films shot very quickly, few camera set-up were used, obliging the actors to move about within the compositions.

Return To Sender is today almost forgotten but it is still worth watching despite the weak story line.

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