26 November 2019 | jgcorrea
B-movies used to be the shallow end of the talent pool, but quite often...
A B movie or B film (akin to B-sides for recorded music in 78 r.p.m.) is a low-budget commercial motion picture that is not an art-house film. Count the hours is a typical example of B-movie. Although the term B movie continues to be used in its broader sense to this day, the U.S. production of movies intended as second features largely ceased by the end of the 1950's. CTH! is dated 1953. Unlike most B movies of that time, it did display a certain degree of craft and aesthetic ingenuity, thanks to director Don Siegel, who shot it in just 9 days. Whilst its short running length and some slim scenes make it feel like a movie made quickly, there are scenes which feel greater than the movie itself. The synopsis looks today like none but a jumble of clichés. Otherwise let's see: after the murder of a farmer and his housekeeper, farmers George (John Craven) and Ellen Braden (Teresa Wright) are arrested on suspicion of murder. Seeing that his pregnant wife is not able to cope with the fierce police questioning, George signs a confession. Reluctant attorney Doug Madison (Macdonald Carey), seeing how desperate Ellen is to clear her husband, throws himself into finding the proof, never gives up and finds Max Verne (Jack Elam), the murderer. District Attorney Gillespie (Edgar Barrier), though, won't be publicly humiliated by having the conviction of Braden overturned.
Why should you rent and watch it this little thriller? The answer: it is a Don Siegel movie. What Siegel always did was brilliant because he paced his movies perfectly and in between a lot of usual looking scenes he threw in a few really great ones, using lighting and close-ups to create impact.