25 December 2017 | soren-71259
A Mala Powers tour de force
Sometimes one runs across an Academy Award level performance in a B film and the performance doesn't get the attention it should have. Mala Powers was a remarkably talented actress who rarely got to show off what she was capable of doing, being used largely as decoration in things like fifties horror movies because, alas, she was quite attractive and in those days of Piper Laurie, Lori Nelson, et cetera, young attractive ladies were often cast in slop. But in this highly watchable effort Mala Powers gives what amounts to a complete acting class as she pours her heart into this stunning performance which has to be watched several times to be fully appreciated. Ms. Powers taught the Michael Chekhov school or style of acting professionally for many years but she could certainly show her students this work as evidence that she knew what she was talking about. In this acting theory, the Chekhov-influenced actor attempts to indicate through gestures a reflection of the interior or psychic anguish that is being felt. Movements and gestures must be true and effective and lively but not forced and inappropriate or unnecessarily exaggerated. If you just take isolated scenes and you know the plot, you can watch her emotional display and her gesturing and how organic and integrated they are. There are no false moves, no exaggerated gestures and no grandstanding. Ably supported by Jacques Bergerac as a troubled man who seems to find highly troubled women to court without even trying, Mala Powers keeps us wondering about her sanity until the rather feeble and highly implausible ending moments but it's well worth a watch for people who like to curl up and watch a pretty good mystery thriller with one performance that goes way beyond what one would expect and which shows the post-Slanislavski school (Slanikovsky was Chekhov's teacher) in all its raging glory. It's a must-see for serious acting students. I hope this review does not sound too artsy for the viewer-- it's one of the gutsiest performances in a film that I've seen!