Murder Can Be Deadly (1962)

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Murder Can Be Deadly (1962) Poster

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 »


6.4/10
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4 January 2003 | DanielKing
good British B-picture
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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