*Scandal Incorporated, 1956, Edward Mann,, 79, 1, 3.9
[no IMDB review]
When movie actor Brad Cameron is at Federated Studios in Hollywood for wardrobe fittings, he learns that Scandal magazine has published a false cover story about him being "caught in the act" with a young actress, June Trapping. Brad complains to his agent, Jerry Dexter, who believes that the story may have been planted by June's agent, Herman Todd. Despite Brad's declaration of innocence, his wife Marge remains unconvinced. When Brad goes to explain to Champ Winter, his best friend and June's boyfriend, Champ does not believe him and slugs him. To protect his client, Jerry goes to see June and Todd, and demands that June retract her story or he will use information he has to smear her. Meanwhile, at Scandal magazine, publisher Leland Miller assigns Jess Blancher, the writer who fabricated the story about Brad, to cover a new "exposé." At Federated, studio boss Sidney Wood tells Jerry and Brad that due to adverse public reaction, he is forced to postpone Brad's next picture and will ...
The Man is Armed, 1956, Franklin Adreon, x, 70, 7, 6.1
Armed and Cantankerous
secragt1 1 December 2012
Typically violent and existential parolee noir featuring perennial patsy Dane Clark just out from the pokey after taking the fall for bad guy William Talman. Clark finds plenty more trouble on his very first day of release, quickly descending into murder and armed robbery with only a brief romantic interlude with true blue May Wynn, who ought to know better. Noir vet Barton MacClane gets in a couple good lines as the cop who put Clark away the first time and looks likely to do so again.
Like many hard luck characters preceding him in noirdom, Clark appears forever snake-bit and no matter how he squirms or where he shoots, the flypaper just gets stickier. Clark's character has never gotten a particularly fair shake though he asks for some of what he gets. In short, he's not the kind you'd send a Christmas card to. His fate is never really in doubt,though you may decide to stick around to see whether the love of a good (naive) woman can prevent ultimate bloodshed (what do you think?) Overall a sincere if inevitable effort with a few thrills and not the worst b-movie 2nd feature in that context.
Terror at Midnight, 1956, Franklin Adreon,, 70, 1, 6.5
An effective Republic yarn.
searchanddestroy-1 17 May 2009
I just discovered it. A very well made story, surprising for this kind of B movie. A policeman's bride is implicated in a hit and run accident. Both her and the police officer - Scott Brady - have to face blackmailers. One bystander who witnessed the accident, and the garage owner to whom she went to repair her car. The owner tries to abuse her for his silence, about the accident to report to the police. She refuses. And, the owner, who has very serious problems with his wife, has a terrible quarrel with her and she kills him. The police force investigates about this strange death and, of course, the poor officer's wife, who had the accident, is suspected because the police found some traces of the hit and run accident on the very place where the garage owner found death, crashed by a car he was repairing. Killed by his own wife...
So the police officer and his fiancée will have to prove the young woman' innocence, while the owner's wife - or may I say widow - tries to blackmail her husband - dead husband - associates. Hoods with whom he made some outlaw activities.
So, it's a movie with some stories mixed one with another, stories of blackmailing within blackmailing. Interesting at the most.
I won't tell you longer about this film, but it's really worthwhile.
Accused of Murder†, 1956, Joseph Kane, x, 74, 9, 5.8
A mixture of melodrama, murder, music and mediocrity.
mark.waltz23 February 2017
They say that Helen Twelvetrees was Lassie's favorite movie star and that Herbert Marshall would have been perfect in an Ed Wood film in the next leg of his career. It's obvious that Vera Ralston couldn't get into an audition unless Herbert Yates was there, and as a result, she had a 17 year film career, all at one studio. Ms. Hruba Ralston is practically forgotten today, not even remembered as a bad actress, more just a non- actress. It's obvious that even bad acting takes some effort, and Ralston simply just read the lines and prayed for a miracle with the camera work and critics. In a color process called "Naturama", she's not photogenic from certain angles, and in others, she's surprisingly lovely. But here, it's hit and miss, and her Czech accent is a bit of a detriment to her appeal, especially when it disappears when she sings.
As a confidante to aging Sidney Blackmer, she's a suspect in his murder, having been spotted talking to him after he followed her home in his car, right before he gets a bullet to the head. It's obvious that she has no motive, and that mobster Warren Stevens (complete with scar) should be at the top of everybody's suspect list. Fortunately, she disappears off screen for long periods at a time, giving opportunity for some colorful characters to get involved.
The supporting cast comes off somewhat better, especially veteran actress Virginia Grey as a lush involved with Stevens, Greta Thyssen as a floozy he pushes out of his apartment rather violently, and Claire Carleton as a witness who keeps making mysterious phone calls. David Brian, top billed as the police lieutenant involved in the case, is totally wooden. Lee Van Cleef plays one of his associates. The color is a plus, but with all the talents looking for work in 1956, Ralston made it a minus. When the revelation of what really happened is revealed, you might find yourself throwing something at the screen in disgust and disbelief.
A Disturbing Film
Bucs19606 September 2008
This film, directed by accomplished actor, Paul Henreid who also plays the police captain, is a dark and disturbing film entry in the noir genre. It stars Ralph Meeker, as a returning WWII veteran who is suffering from what they called in those day, "shell shock". He gets involved with a local bar girl in Mexico and later she is found dead in a hotel room. A maid finds a clue implicating Meeker and she, in concert with the dead girl's boyfriend. try a little blackmail. This leads to another murder and Meeker is in deep trouble. The denouement takes place at the airport and Meeker come out on the short end of the stick.
We are left to draw our own conclusions as to whether Meeker actually committed the murders or not. That may be seen as a shortcoming of the film but it makes you remember this little gem. Very competent film making by Henreid.
Not That Old Amnesia Gimmick Again
dglink30 December 2020
Republic Pictures dragged out the tired amnesia cliche for a low-budget mystery, A Woman's Devotion, and wasted a good cast in the process. With a title better suited to a Douglas Sirk melodrama, the film involves a young American couple on holiday in Acapulco, Mexico. The husband is an accomplished artist, and, when a young waitress that he had asked to model for him is found murdered, the local police come calling. Filmed on location by Mexican cinematographer Jorge Stahl, Jr., the film is colorful both on the Acapulco streets and waterfront and in the brightly hued hotel interiors. A young and handsome Ralph Meeker plays Trevor Stevenson, the decorated veteran, whose uncle's bequest left him sufficient funds to pursue art. Lovely Janice Rule is Trevor's wife of one year, whose trust in her husband is challenged when his hidden past is revealed. Golden Age actor Paul Henreid not only stars as Captain Monteros, the local Mexican police officer, but also directed the film.
Meeker does his best with a strange role in which he wrestles with headaches caused by loud sounds that result in war-induced amnesia; possibly being groomed for hunk parts, Meeker doffs his shirt whenever possible. Rule also has a strange role as a wife who apparently knows little about her husband's past or medical history; despite professing belief in her husband's story, she is quick to seek an escape from the country. Henreid plays himself and sprinkles his Austrian accent with a few words of Spanish to pass as Mexican in an undemanding role. The film is also of note because two of the women guests at the hotel are evidently a same-sex couple, and their presence passes without comment. Unfortunately, Robert Hill's story and screenplay are undistinguished, cliched, and predictable. The three leads have all done better work both before and after; Meeker on Broadway and television, Rule in film, and Henreid both in classic Hollywood movies and as a director, notably for "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" on television.
Affair in Reno, 1956, R. G. Springsteen,, 75, 3, 6.8
Starts off on a lucky streak of romance but ends up being snake eyes.
mark.waltz 26 November 2019
Towards the end of it's days as the top B studio, Republic released this crime caper with strong comic elements pairing private detective John Lund with snappy bodyguard Doris Singleton who interrupts Lund's shower and never leaves his side. She even gets to save him in a unique way from being kidnapped by none other than legendary skipper Alan Hale Jr. who I trying to keep Lund from locating Angela Greene, heiress daughter of Lund's client, Thurston Hall. (No, not Howell... Hale would have to wait another seven years to encounter Jim Backus....) Greene plans to marry gambler John Archer which papa disapproves of.
That romance is secondary as it's the growing romance between Lund and Singleton that creates the comedy interrupted half way through by a ridiculous and convoluted plot. It is obviously going to be resolved in spite of the criminal elements involved so there's little in the way of tension.
In addition to sitcom actors Hale and Richard Deacon there's also Howard McNear, aka Floyd the bartender who becomes the victim of a mickey meant for Lund. What makes this unique is the obvious conclusion that Singleton is smarter than Lund, a nice twist for a 50's caper film that might have worked better a decade before with William Powell and Myrna Loy.
When Gangland Strikes, 1956, R. G. Springsteen,, 70, 4, 6.0
Sort of like Judge Hardy combined with film noir...
MartinHafer 13 February 2018
Bmavc reviewed this film some time ago and compared it to an Andy Hardy movie. Well, I think their analysis is brilliant and I wish I'd said that first! But they're right...this crime film does seem to harken to Judge Hardy and his wise, old fashioned views of law and order.
The film begins with Duke (Anthony Caruso) shooting a man dead in a bowling alley. The scene then switches to a small town and follows the exploits of a folksy county prosecutor--a nice man who is more concerned with justice and right versus the letter of the law. How does this relate to Duke's murder? Well, his lawyer manages to get his case sent to a different venue...this nice man's town. Why would they want him to be trying the case? Well, it seems Duke has something on the old man...some bit of blackmail. But this isn't the end of the story...no...there's far, far more to it.
As I mentioned above, it sure reminded me of a Judge Hardy film...minus Andy and with the addition of some film noir elements. Anthony Caruso was an amazing character actor and played gangsters as well as anyone...and he is in top form here. Overall, very enjoyable and worth your time.
By the way, this is one of Republic Studio's last films before they folded in the late 1950s. Also, I thought it very unusual that the murder in the opening scene featured a lot of blood...something very rare for movies back then.
Lisbon, 1956, Ray Milland,, 90, 16, 5.9
Thin on story, but with great players who make it work
5 October 2016 AlsExGal
This obscure adventure romance from Republic may be thin on story but is, at least, distinguished by its lovely Technicolor photography shot on location in the title city and the pedigree of its Hollywood veteran cast, Ray Milland (who also directed), Maureen O'Hara and Claude Rains. The film is further blessed with a light, engaging Nelson Riddle song, "Lisbon Antigua," which plays throughout the proceedings. The Riddle song was a radio hit at the time, and is still pretty easily recognized.
The story involves Milland as a smooth operating smuggler (his operations are always kept vague) hired by suave well bred scoundrel Rains to pick up a "package" from an American just arrived in the city (O'Hara) which will involve her kidnapped wealthy husband. The story is neither here nor there, really. The combination of visual pleasures, Riddle's musical score and a capable cast of veterans may be enough for some viewers to want to spend an hour and a half of their time with this fairly inconsequential enterprise.
Rains is always fun to watch with his velvet voice, as a suave sophisticate who is also moral corruption incarnate. He seems to be almost playing his part in his sleep this go round but a Claude Rains asleep is still a great deal more entertaining than many other actors awake.
At one point in the film Rains delicately makes reference to O'Hara of how lovely she looks and how even more lovely she would look should something unforeseen "happen" to her millionaire husband, with he, Rains, receiving a small portion of her inherited good fortune. O'Hara is shocked and outraged by the suggestion, calling him a monster. Rains, realizing his faux pas, quickly regroups, saying that "in my own clumsy fashion" he was merely attempting to pay her a small compliment for not yielding to an idea to which a less scrupulous woman might succumb.
As Rains hints at the implications of a murder he could arrange, a small smile constantly dances across his lips. His expression could almost be that of a wine connoisseur discussing a rare vintage very much to his liking. It's a small, almost throwaway moment in the film, but it's a pleasure to watch the effortless aplomb that Rains brings to the scene.
A Strange Adventure, 1956, William Witney,, 70, 7, 5.4
"A swimming pool Delilah"
bkoganbing27 November 2015
With John Wayne no longer under contract and their stable of cowboy heroes gone or gone to television Republic Pictures turned out a lot of mediocre films until Herbert J. Yates pulled the plug on his business. Occasionally they did a good film, but mostly mediocre. A Strange Adventure was worse than mediocre.
Marla English is in a small town western motel spending a lot of time sun bathing and getting the hormones of the hot-rodding son of the owner into overdrive. Ben Cooper no way Jose looked like a minor kid, but he's checking out English big time and she's leading him on.
But that's her stock in trade, English also has armored car driver Paul Smith ready to help heist his own car. That's what happens when her confederates Jan Merlin and Nick Adams arrive and they shoot the luckless Smith. They also take Cooper and his hotrod which does 90 miles as a possible getaway vehicle.
As arranged the gang is supposed to hide in an abandoned cabin in the mountains that will soon be snowed in and then make a getaway in spring. But the cabin isn't so abandoned as brother and sister Peter Miller and Joan Evans are there.
The cinematography is mediocre and the sound quality horrible on A Strange Adventure. The players do their best with some off the wall dialog. Jan Merlin especially overacts with gusto to cover up the film's deficiencies.
A Strange Adventure is directed by William Witney who ten years earlier was grinding out Roy Rogers and Gene Autry westerns along with the rest of the Republic cowboy stable. I'll bet he wished he was back in the saddle again.
The Crooked Circle, 1957, Joseph Kane, x, 72, 3, 7.4
Late Republic Pictures effort.
gordonl56 11 March 2009
A low rent boxing racket film made at the end of Republic Pictures film production.
Steve Brodie, John Smith, Robert Armstrong, Don Kelly, Fay Spain and John Doucette headline. Brodie is a sports reporter who does the boxing beat. He thinks there is something fishy about the death of a boxer. The boxer wins a fight and then is the victim of a hit and run later that night.
Brodie digs around and finds out the man had won a fight the mob wanted him to lose. The mob lost a bundle and was less than pleased with the outcome. Brodie looks up Don Kelly, a boxer he knew from years before. Kelly had been in the same boat with the mob. He was to throw a fight but decided he could not do it. Kelly won the fight, but was quicker on the get-away. He beat the mob out of town and went into hiding under a new name.
Brodie asks Kelly just who is behind the racket but gets nothing. Kelly's brother, John Smith, has taken to the ring to earn some quick cash. He wants to get married and boxing seems the fastest way to round up some dough. Kelly asks Brodie to keep an eye on Smith. Brodie introduces Smith to a legit manager, who is played by Robert Armstrong. Smith is a natural and right off the bat KO's his first opponent.
Smith catches the eye of crooked manager, John Doucette. Doucette offers big cash if he will fight for him. Smith jumps right in and is soon on his way up the rankings. Of course after 8-9 wins he is asked to throw a bout. What is he to do? He likes the money and throws the bout.
This just leads to trouble as the mob finds out that his brother, Kelly, is the boxer who had screwed them before. Doucette then decides to take some mob cash but "forgets" to tell Smith the fix is in. Smith wins and is quickly grabbed up by the mob for a rub-out. It is just the quick work of Brodie and some cops that save the day. The bad guys get a trip upstate after Smith tells all to the cops.
Fay Spain plays Smith's wife to be. Phillip Van Zandt and Richard Karlan play the mob bosses. John Doucette is quite good as the three-timing manager. The film was directed by long time Republic helmsman, Joe Kane. The d of p was the equally long serving Republic fixture, Jack Marta.
This is by no means a 4 star film. There is however more than enough going on to keep the viewer happy.
*The Wayward Girl, 1957, Lesley Selander,, 71, 2, 7.0
For a 1950s film, this one is very daring and ahead of its time.
MartinHafer 21 February 2017
Marcia Henderson plays Judy, a nice young lady who ends up going through hell...and through no fault of her own. She lives with her step-mother and the step-mom is a needy mess of a woman. She's engaged to a man who is no good and who keeps putting his dirty paws all over the teen...but the step-mom makes it clear that nothing the man does will result in her telling him to leave. Not surprisingly, a short time later the man tries to rape Judy and Judy fights back...hitting him in order to get away from him. When the step-mom comes into the room and realizes what's happened, she is enraged and kills her fiancé! However, she pretends as if she did nothing and there were no witnesses and Judy is convicted of Manslaughter and sent to prison.
After serving part of her sentence, Judy is eligible for parole. The problem is that she has no place to go so it looks as if she'll be stuck in prison. However, some 'nice people' come to the parole board and ask that she be paroled to their farm so that she can have a place to live and work. Surprisingly, the parole board agrees and doesn't even investigate the place. What they don't realize is that the 'brother and sister' who so kindly have offered Judy a place to live are actually planning on prostituting her. After all, if she doesn't agree, they'll just have her sent back. So what's coming next for this sad young woman?
I think the choice of having a no-name actress play Judy was a good idea, as otherwise she would have seemed more like an actress than a young lady in trouble. Also, while the film is very salacious, it is ahead of its time and talks about sexual abuse and human trafficking....very important topics which were generally ignored up until then and which STILL don't receive enough attention. Well worth seeing and surprisingly well made.
By the way, if you do watch this one, look for Barbara Eden in small part near the beginning of the picture.
The Weapon, 1957, Val Guest,, 77, 6, 6.3
Bring on Herbert Marshall
JohnHowardReid 13 December 2013
The Weapon is a mixed blessing. It does present some marvelous action sequences. On the other hand, Steve Cochran makes a pretty charmless hero and his co-star, Lizabeth Scott, looks surprisingly dowdy. It's left to Nicole Maurey to present all the feminine allure, but while she appears so mightily attractive, she makes little headway against some of the tritest dialogue in the movie. In fact, the script regales audiences with too much uninteresting talk to sustain our consistent interest, yet it leaves vital plot points unclarified--even at the close! Unfortunately, Val Guest's direction does little to disguise the banal dialogue stretches, but once the camera moves away from Mr. Cochran, Guest's handling perks up considerably, with very impressive use of natural locations – so overwhelming in fact is the location material that it puts the movie firmly back into the "A"-grade class. It would seem that Guest realized Cochran and Scott were not only distinctly second string, but they were doing nothing for the film. Maybe that's why Herbert Marshall was employed in a very small, inconsequential role? It was no doubt thought that his name would give the cast credits a touch of much-needed luster.
*Man or Gun, 1958, Albert C. Gannaway,, 79, 6, 5.9
For a 1950s B Western surprisingly interesting
rmahaney48 February 2002
Man or Gun is an interesting film, which is unusual as most 1950s B Westerns are definitely not very interesting, most being retreads of earlier, better films. However, in this film there is inventive camera work with interesting angles and crane shots, an intelligent plot, a good use of music, sound and silence, and decent acting. It is all the more the unusual as being well directed by a man whose career was comprised of 9 films all directed in a single 5 year period (1956-1961), Albert Gannaway. While not a great film, it is a good one.
The plot involves Fran Dare (Audrey Totter), a saloon owner, and her partner manipulating a fast drawing stranger (Macdonald Carey) with a gun that holds a growing superstitious significance to those around him. He is used to wrest control of the town from the Corleys and to extract some measure of revenge for Fran, whose father had been killed by the Corleys. The town's aged sherriff spends his time in his office, playing checkers, trying to avoid trouble, and swearing that since he had been in office there had been "no killings, only legal shootouts".
Both Audrey Totter and Macdonald Carey had long careers, both appearing in over 50 films and in various televisions series.
The film has more the feel of the great physcological westerns of the 1950s than your standard Randolph Scott oater.
The final 20 minutes of the movie include an inventive gunfight at a farmhouse and a well done climax.
Laura Grieve from LAURA’s MISC. MUSINGS on MAN OR GUN...
No Place to Land, 1958, Albert C. Gannaway,, 77, 9, 4.8
What does it need a place to land for when it never gets off the ground?
jjnxn-1 9 November 2014
Noticeably lacking in things like a cohesive plot and logic this cheap programmer with an apparent budget of about fifty bucks is representative of what used to fill the bottom half of a double bill.
For such a short feature with the rather innocuous theme of a crop dusting business this has a remarkably high body count, some of those incidents happening without a sensible reason.
As for the performances, John Ireland is okay if unmemorable in the lead, while Mari Blanchard is properly brazen as a tramp with a serious case of hot pants. Jackie Coogan, who gives the film's best performance and also has the part with the most depth-which isn't much but comparatively speaking there is at least some reasoning behind what he does.
The only other performer of note is Gail Russell nearing the end of her career. Once considered to have the potential to be a big star her insecurity led to an enormous drinking problem which wrecked her career. Her appearance is shocking-her beauty ruined by booze, she was only 34 when this was made and looks a rough 50. Ironically her one big speech is about how her character's husband has ruined his life though his addiction to alcohol, it's terribly sad if you know her back story. She would only make one film after this and literally drink herself to death within three years.
Not an awful film but not a very good one either. If you like 50's melodramas or any of the stars it's worth catching once but that will be enough.
The Strange Case of Dr. Manning, 1958, Arthur Crabtree,, 75, 2, 4.9
British film thriller promise too much!
niels-45 July 2005
Dr. Manning, a successful doctor, married to a rich woman, is called out in the middle of the night to take care of a patient. Dr. Manning never returns from his visit and soon after his wife receives a ransom letter requesting five thousand pounds. From then on Mrs. Manning (Greta Gynt) is taken on a roller coaster ride trying to catch up with the kidnappers to deliver the money. But each delivery is a failure and soon it seems like everybody is inn on the secret which only complicates the matter. Mr. Manning is soon found killed and the killer is at large. The only way to catch him is if Mrs. Manning becomes the bait. She has heard the killers voice several times over the telephone. The newspaper press almost ruins the case by reporting disclosed information that makes the killer a danger to be around.
Towards the end of the movie there is a cat and mouse chase between the police and the killer. Marked ransom money soon appear and that leads us to the killer. A suspect that is not involved in the film in any ways, so you will never guess who he/she is up to the last moment. The motive for the killing of Dr. Manning is valid enough.
An American detective, played by Ron Randell, is there to solve the mystery, he collaborates with The Scotland Yard. But this case could really manage without him. I assume the American actor, Ron Randell, was mostly there to lure the audience to attend the film once it was distributed in The US. Through out the film Randell is there to assure us that the mystery will soon be resolved, annoying at times.
The Strange Case of Dr. Manning aka Morning Call is fine to watch, but kind of "much ado about nothing". It is not a dull film, it is fast moving, has many inn and outdoor scenes, but there are too many characters involved. Director Arthur Crabtree does his best to pull off this story, but it never becomes a "film-noir" triumph, the script is too ordinary for that, unfortunately.
Lead actress, Greta Gynt, in one of her last films before she ended her twenty year old film career. She is very restrained in her role as Mrs. Manning, the script allows her only to worry. She is very much apart of the film and should have been focused on during the cat and mouse chase between police and murder. Instead Ms. Gynt walks on to the scene after the whole affair is over. A brilliant actress who knows well how to portray suspense should have been at hand. That is the big crime of this film :-)
The Man Who Died Twice, 1958, Joseph Kane,, 70, 6, 6.0
Now Who Could That Be?
boblipton 18 June 2020
Rod Cameron comes to town to discover his brother is dead and his widow, Vera Hruba Ralston, is being consoled by Mike Mazurki. The local cops tell him his brother was involved in the local drug trade, so Cameron agrees to stay on and help them crack the case.
It's Miss Ralston's last film appearance. Not entirely coincidentally, Herbert J. Yates was tossed out of his chairmanship of Republic Pictures. Nominally it was because of the strain of a shrinking market for B pictures and his unwillingness to release the Republic library to television. Miss Ralston almost certainly had a great deal to do with it. He tried to make her a star, a second Sonja Heinie, and had married her in 1952, but as an actor, she was a good ice skater, with a thick accent, no acting ability, and a middle-aged appearance. The fact that Republic spent a lot of money on her vehicles, and they didn't appeal to the public may have had something to do with the disappearance of husband and wife from the Republic lot.
And so might some foolish decisions in writing. While Cameron and the supporting cast, including Louis Jean Heydt, are pretty good, the big plot twist is given away by the title.
Worth Viewing for the Character Actors
alancmiller19 December 2017
This is one of those noir films that is salvaged from ignominy by the fine work of actors in minor roles. Rod Cameron, the male lead does a workmanlike job, but leading lady Vera Ralston is almost unwatchable. The script calls for a traumatized woman, but she gives us a helpless and annoying whiner. This would have been a much better film had she been replaced by a Marie Windsor, Caroline Jones, or Jane Randolph. Unfortunately, Ralston was married to the the boss of Republic Pictures, so she managed to mess up a lot of movies before she retired. Fortunately there are several good character actors here including Louis Jean Heydt as police captain Andy Hampton, Mike Mazurki as the lovesick bartender Rak, Jesslyn Fax as the snoopy old lady, and Gerald Milton & Richard Kaplan as the quarrelsome hit men. Its not The Blue Dahlia, but I'd give this film a 6.5 on a scale of ten.
*The Notorious Mr. Monks, 1958, Joseph Kane,, 70, 3, 6.3
And to the Republic for which Vera Hruba Ralston Yates stands...
mark.waltz 25 March 2013
It was the end of an era for the Bette Davis of Republic Studios, that great thespian Vera Ralston, no longer Hruba, never billed with her married name as Mrs. Herbert Yates. But for the former Czech skater who dominated Republic Studios for 17 years, this was the end.
She plays the wife of the nasty title character (Paul Fix), a supposedly much younger woman, and anxious for even younger male companionship. Along comes drifter Don Kelly who stays on as a hired hand, and rumors begin to fly. Mr. Monks is a notorious drunk, a bad-tempered farmer who has lied for years about oil being under the ground. The obvious is inevitable, questions arise, and a "surprising" conclusion occurs. The only surprise is that Ralston and the other actors (which also includes Luana Anders as a teen-aged femme fatal and "Plan 9 From Outerspace" co-star Lyle Talbot) don't giggle while saying their lines. That in itself is worthy of an Oscar. Oscar Meyer that is.
*Street of Darkness, 1958, Robert G. Walker,, 60, 0, NA
[no IMDB review}
A group of war buddies search for a buried treasure in New Orleans.
Juvenile Jungle, 1958, William Witney,, 69, 5, 6.2
Fun for fans of the genre
Michael_Elliott 24 June 2012
Republic got in on the juvenile craze of the post-REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE era with this rather silly kidnapping flick. Hal McQueen (Corey Allen) gets wrapped up with a gang of misfits, led by Monte (Joe DiReda) and soon they plan to kidnap the rich Carolyn Elliot (Anne Whitfield) and blackmail her father. Everything is going as planned but soon Hal and Carolyn fall in love and when he tries to back out of the plan it doesn't sit well with the gang. JUVENILE JUNGLE isn't a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination but if you're a fan of the genre then I think you'll have a good time with it. The movie is certainly cheesy and rather moronic at times but the most important thing is that it goes by extremely quick and it's a lot of fun.
I think the real key to the film are the performances. No, none of them are Oscar worthy and some of them cause laughs, but I think each of the actors really delivers a memorable character. Allen comes across good as the bad guy turned good and DiReda is a riot as the leader of the 100% bad guys. Rebecca Welles is also a blast playing the female gang member who goes crazy throughout the movie and this added a lot of camp value and laughs. Richard Bakalyan was also fun as Tic-Tac. Whitfield also a very memorable moment during the first portion of the string when she witnesses a fight and her facial reactions are just priceless.
The dialogue is full of fun as well as the kids are constantly trying to sound hip but of course today it just comes off silly. There are some good fist fights along the way and even a catfight towards the end. JUVENILE JUNGLE isn't going to make you forget James Dean but it's a fun little movie.
dougdoepke24 November 2015
No need to recap the kidnapping plot, which I couldn't do anyway. Good thing there's no truth in advertising in Hollywood. At best, the movie's so-called "juveniles" are in their 20's and 30's (e.g. Welles). Reviewer Elliot is right— when not plain silly, the plot makes little sense. It's like the writers forgot from one day to the next. Then too, gang members DiReda (Monte) and Welles (Glory) ham it up like bargain day at Farmer John's, while Allen (Hal) appears bored with the whole idea.
On the plus side are hoodlum super-star Richard Bakalyan as Tic-Tac and goofy looking Joe Conley as Duke. Between them, they provide amusing character color. At the same time, the gang's febrile antics are about as predictable as next week's weather. Nonetheless, veteran director Witney keeps things moving, so there's little time to dwell on the general nuttiness. All in all, I'm not sure what Republic was reaching for, but they should have stuck with their specialty, kids' westerns. Good thing these over-age delinquents are never boring, just like those great old matinée heroes.
Young and Wild, 1958, William Witney,, 69, 4, 6.0
Much better than you'd suspect.
MartinHafer19 November 2012
Currently, the picture on IMDb for this film appears to be some sort of porno film--NOT "Young and Wild"! Also, like most 'youth run wild' films of the era, the teens in this film are well into their 20s--and near 30 in some cases.
The film begins with three punks stealing a car and going joyriding. However, this isn't the end of it by any means. Next, they attack a young couple--beating the boy and nearly raping the girl. On their way from this little frivolity, they run over a woman--killing her instantly. Clearly, these young men are thugs--and not just the kinda bad guys from most 50s movies of this genre. When the police investigate, the punks are able to concoct an alibi but they later seek out the young couple--to make sure they don't identify them in a police lineup. And, after being beaten up again and threatened at knifepoint, it's not surprising that they recant their initial identifications. Not surprisingly, this only emboldens the punks. What's next? See this gritty film for yourself.
This film actually surprised me. While it clearly appeared to be just another film about those crazy youths, it was far deeper and far better. It was NOT just another mindless exploitation film but a well-crafted low-budget film.
By the way, look for the young cop during the interrogation scene--it's Gavin MacLeod.
The ugly side of life creates a depressing drama.
mark.waltz 11 April 2014
A bunch of punks terrorize the "nice kids" and the law hopes to get the evidence to toss the book at them, although its difficult to get the victims to agree to testify. While realistic in nature and certainly out of the newspaper headlines of this era, the obvious major problem is that the casting of the thugs (assumed to be in their late teens/early 20's) has them obviously a lot older than they are supposed to be. Violent and tense, the film is a depressing view of our society, told realistically and more sensitively just a few years before in "Rebel Without a Cause". No real motive is given for the behavior of these juvenile delinquents who at one point are prepared to rape the heroine other than the fact that they didn't seem to have any parental supervision.
The young characters are all presented as "All-American" or "All-Anger", no middle ground detailed to show that there could be kids that had both good and bad in them, that young adults like this could be reformed. The actors, for the most part, seem to come into this film without any real training, so this does give a natural feeling (if still uncomfortable) to their performances. It is obvious that this was made in the "exploitation" mold rather than a realistic depiction of society as a whole. So many of these films were made that it is impossible to tell one from another. This is just one of those films that will leave you with the angry feeling of how we allowed our society to become like this, to the point of no return. While the film certainly makes its points, it is simply too ugly to like.