28 September 2004 | dinky-4
Earnest, small-scale drama
Bottom-half-of-the-double-bill movies such as this began to die out in the late 1950s as TV anthology shows became the prime source for modest black-and-white dramas. Now, alas, those shows are also a thing of the past and even made-for-TV movies seem to be venturing into this territory with decreasing frequency. All of which gives "Flood Tide" a lost-artifact quality which viewers back in 1958 would not have anticipated or appreciated.
Like many such films, "Flood Tide" begins with a "grabber" -- a man's body is found on a beach -- and then spins out its story in a terse, concentrated manner that avoids detours and subplots. The results may be a bit shallow and simplistic but the movie is never dull and it has the good sense to clock in at a brisk 82 minutes.
Of course, "Flood Tide" is not without its faults. George Nader's patience in dealing with the "Bad Seed" aspects of Michel Ray's character is almost too saint-like to be believed, and his all-too-quick falling in love with Cornell Borchers lacks passion and conviction. And why would he take a crippled boy out in a sailboat without putting a life-vest on him?
Cornell Borchers, who sounds uncannily like Ingrid Bergman, doesn't seem vulnerable enough for this part and George Nader can't quite overcome the unrealistic nature of his part. (However, the movie's only 9-minutes old before he takes his shirt off, revealing a chest which, unlike some of his other appearances, has been shaved and polished.) Michel Ray does well in the rather contrived role of the troubled boy. (Ray's biography on the "imdb" is fascinating!)
Watch for Troy Donahue. He plays the young man who knocks on Cornell Borchers' door to tell her there's a sick boy on the beach.
Some of the film's music was provided by Henry Mancini.