21 December 2014 | kevinolzak
Last feature compilation from the Hammer TV series JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN
"Journey to Murder" was the last of four ersatz feature films compiled from the Hammer TV series JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN, and by a wide margin the least seen, after "Journey into Darkness," "Journey to Midnight," and "Journey to the Unknown," this last also hosted by Hollywood legend Joan Crawford (who otherwise had no other involvement with the show). Crawford can do little to enliven the episodes contained here, not really helped by star power such as Joseph Cotten and Roddy McDowall. First up is "Do Me a Favor and Kill Me," which echoes Columbia's initial 1944 "The Whistler" in which a husband guilt ridden over his wife's death hires a hit man to kill him, before learning that she still lives, trying unsuccessfully to prevent the determined killer (J. Carrol Naish) from carrying out the hit. Here we have Cotten playing a drunken has been actor who wants his wife to benefit from his death, but soon has second thoughts about having someone bump him off for the insurance. A good cast (Douglas Wilmer, Kenneth Haigh) helps a little, while the second story, "The Killing Bottle," stars Roddy McDowall as unscrupulous manager Rollo Verdew, scheming to control the estate of his naïve client (Barry Evans), an aspiring composer who collects butterflies in what he refers to as a 'killing bottle.' This doesn't sit well with Rollo's crazed brother Randolph, who just hates to see any living thing mistreated. Cotten walks through his role, while the animated McDowall gives another unrealistic performance sadly typical of his work at the time (particularly his villain on Peter Falk's COLUMBO, going out of his way to look as guilty as possible).