16 June 2018 | noellesoren-56384
Strange Effort from PRC
Nobody has reviewed this yet so as a courtesy I'll take a shot at it.
This is a strange little film from the usually reliable Producers Releasing Corporation. Its main problem is the terrible high school level performance of its young leading lady Mary Ware whose career as an actress went just about nowhere after this effort. Her role requires someone who can really deliver nuance and Miss Ware is just not up to it. She seems to eat her words with her abundant teeth and never really quite convinces. Yet her trance-like performance throughout almost seems strangely appropriate. Rick Vallin as the leading man is stolid and unremarkable and too old for the leading lady and forget about the necessary chemistry between them-- it just isn't there. It's hard to see how he got into more than 150 significant productions before his death from drugs at age 57. He just doesn't have much screen presence. Only the ever dependable Addison Richards puts in a solid turn as Mary's father but why does he chuck her under her chin and then do it a second time? It could be two quick takes that didn't fit together well.
The screenplay by George Wallace Sayre based on his own original story is, on the other hand, something that holds your interest because you cannot figure out what kind of a film this wants to be: psychological study, exploitation film, study of a femme fatale, courtroom drama, or murder mystery. It plods along with just enough bite to hold one's interest until all hell breaks loose and all the loose threads fall together in the last five minutes, which is also where all the action takes place. It can also definitely be placed in the ranks of all those post World War II psychoanalysis movies such as Lady in the Dark.
The director Frank Wisbar has almost no budget to work with here and much of the film, up to the very end, is rather static. He tries to inject some Germanic lighting into dramatic scenes of Mary Ware supposedly unraveling but Mary just doesn't unravel very well. Even the giant close-ups of her face and the heavily intensified music accents fail to convey all the emotion that we need here. Wisbar however is never completely uninteresting as a storyteller and his masterpiece, Strangler of the Swamp, is even moodier and odder than this little effort.If you have to choose between this movie and that one, see that one.
In short this movie leads you in many different directions before fitting together nicely at the end and you may be smarter than I and guess the whole thing. I was 10 minutes from the end before I began to piece it all together. I can't say I really liked this film but it certainly has its moments and if you can stand to get through half of it with all the lame acting, remember that it is only 57 minutes long and it has a twist ending you should see.