Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Room 43 (1958)

Original title: Passport to Shame

Director: Alvin Rakoff

Writer: Patrick Alexander

Composer: Ken Jones

Starring: Diana Dors, Herbert Lom, Eddie Constantine, Odile Versois, Brenda de Banzie, Robert Brown, Elwyn Brook-Jones

More info: IMDb

Tagline: For those who think they've seen everything!

Plot: A cabdriver falls for French girl mixed up with a prostitution ring and he helps to liberate her.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again?  YES!!!

Where do I start?  The performances are very good.  Herbert Lom plays a great gangster who knows how to get shit done and Eddie Constantine is charismatic yet rough around the edges.  I really dig this guy.  His pal, Mike (played by Robert Brown who many years later would play important roles in several Bond pictures and someone I'm ashamed I didn't recognize) is great and he's got a few scenes to shine.  And then there's Diana Dors.  Hubba fuckin' hubba!  She looks so familiar but I've only seen a couple of her pictures, none of which I remember her from.  She did a fine job, too.  Yowza!

I really dug the score, too, but it didn't take long before I realized why...it sounds very similar to Elmer Bernstein's main theme from THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955).  Listen to the theme from the opening credits above and then listen to this...

Pretty darn close.  The story is a lot of fun but it was the direction and cinematography that grabbed me by the short and curlies.  This picture is loaded with great shots and camera angles.  It's beautiful at times.  There were many moments that literally made me smile.  Hell, even a buddy of mine was impressed (without me saying a word to point stuff out) and he doesn't normally notice things like that.  Considering the subject and whatnot, this film is much better than you would expect it to be.  I cannot find a weak spot in the film.  It's that good.  I'm thoroughly impressed and I'm almost bummed out that I hadn't seen or even heard of this before.  Seek it out.  You won't be disappointed.  There was one quick moment when the camera shows a small gathering at a wedding ceremony and there's this one face that was there for a flash but looked very familiar.  I thought how neat would it be if that were Michael Caine.  Then I read the IMDb page and it sure as hell was.  Supposedly Jackie Collins is an extra somewhere, too.  I'd sure love to have a widescreen print of this on DVD.

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