Saturday, March 8, 2014

Bad Blonde (1953)

Original title: The Flanagan Boy

Director: Reginald Le Borg

Writers: Max Catto, Guy Elmes, Richard H. Landau

Composer: Ivor Slaney

Starring: Barbara Payton, Frederick Valk, John Slater, Sidney James, Tony Wright, Marie Burke, Selma Vaz Dias, Enzo Coticchia

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Made of FIRE and ICE... and everything DANGEROUS!

Plot: A scheming blonde seduces a fighter and convinces him to murder her husband, a fight manager.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Sharkey (James), a boxing trainer, meets Johnny Flanagan (Wright), a young man that shows lots of promise in the ring.  Sharkey introduces Johnny to Giuseppe (Valk), a fight manager who loves a winner.  He takes Johnny on.  Giuseppe's young, smokin' hot wife, Lorna (Payton, takes on Johnny, too.  She wants hubby out of the picture and sees her opportunity in Johnny.  She's a manipulative bitch.  Johnny's a dumb, love-struck sap.  See where this is going?  This is one formula I really dig and this picture almost pulls it off wonderfully.  Sid James is fantastic.  I love this guy in everything.  He's most known for starring in many of the CARRY ON comedies of the 60s and 70s.  He's also a wonderful dramatic actor and pulls off another fine job in this one as Johnny's trainer and the man who almost immediately knows who killed Giuseepe.  Everyone else does a fine job, too (hey, they're British, of course they can act). 

The setup and execution of the murder is pretty neat and it's got a great ending.  The only thing that bugged me was Valk's WAY over the top performance as the older, boisterous fight manager, Giuseppe.  He's a lot like Akim Tamiroff's Spyros in OCEAN'S ELEVEN (1960) (or like most of his outlandish performances).  It's enough to turn me off, but the story (and Sid James) are good enough to kind of give it a pass.  This and two other pictures make half of the Hammer Film Noir vol 1 set worth watching and owning.  The other three films are bad but they're not going to warrant a re-watch, either.

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