Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

A '50s Losey double bill

A pair of ‘50s Joseph Losey films: I remember seeing TIME WITHOUT PITY as a kid in 1957 and that it was a gripping drama, so was looking forward to seeing it again, but really it is just a potboiler, albeit a very well acted one with Michael Redgrave as the former alcoholic released from a clinic in Canada who flies to England just as his son (Alec McCowen) is due to be hanged in 24 hours for the murder of his girlfriend. Can the father find enough evidence in that time to prove his son’s innocence? What is the link beween the girlfriend and that wealthy Stanford family, presided over by Leo McKern as the domineering father, with Ann Todd as his wife, and son Paul Daneman, the friend of the condemned man. Redgrave and Todd are of course excellent as is Peter Cushing as the lawyer, but McKern is so over the top that he becomes totally annoying and exasperating. One hardly recognised the young Joan Plowright as a high-kicking chorus girl!

Much more in the Losey style is the 1959 thriller BLIND DATE which nicely captures that end of the 50s/early 60s era. I did not see this at the time but knew it would be a stylish movie, and so it proves. Hardy Kruger is the Dutch painter turning up for a liaison with the attractive, elegant French woman he knows as Jacqueline, only to find that she has been murdered and he is the prime suspect as the police start to investigate. Stanley Baker is the man in charge and we see in flashblacks how Kruger and his Jacqueline (the very elegant Micheline Presle) meet. It turns out of course that there are shady secrets among the upper classes and police chief Robert Flemyng wants the case quickly closed with the painter charged. As usual with Losey there are some great mirror shots, Kruger and Presle are an attractive pair and the resolution is quite neat. Losey was hitting his prime here, he went on to do 2 more with Baker (THE CRIMINAL and EVA with Moreau) and then began that run with Bogarde starting with THE SERVANT in ’63. BLIND DATE and THE SERVANT would be a terrific double bill....

Soon, a raft of other Loseys to see, re-see and review: FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE, A DOLL'S HOUSE, STEAMING, DON GIOVANNI, ASSASSINATION OF TROTSKY, EVA and that Burton/Taylor double BOOM and SECRET CEREMONY! Several of these were failures then but are cult movies now! Other Losey posts at label, including seeing him and Burton & Taylor in 1970.

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