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| | |-+  Brit Noir: Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958)
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Author Topic: Brit Noir: Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958)  (Read 60 times)
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« on: February 03, 2018, 05:18:56 PM »

DVD. 8/10


Going to town after New Years day,I found out that a new DVD shop had opened. Along with the usual US blockbusters,I was surprised to find a shelf dedicated to British DVD labels Network and Optimum Releasing,which led to me chasing after the shadow.

The plot:

After the suicide of her dad, (and also the death of her brother recently) diamond company heiress Kimberley Prescott goes to grieve on the family villa in Spain. Trying to make sense over the loss of two family members, Prescott is shaken from her grief by the arrival of a man,who claims to be her dead brother Ward McKenzie Prescott Jr. Running to police and family,Kimberley is horrified to find everyone disbelieve her that a stranger has stolen Ward's crooked shadow.

View on the film:

Unlike their spotless transfers for Ealing Studios and Jacques Becker's work, Optimum Releasing bring out a transfer which features some big lines of dirt,that become distracting when they appear during the close-ups. Following the slithering shadow of Hammer Horror's Psycho-Thriller era and the pre-black gloves psychological bloodless Giallo era, the screenplay by David D. Osborn & Charles Sinclair display a sharp taste for Film Noir fear,via the family villa being turned into a crypt,where Kimberly is left to crack from the ghostly "return" of Ward,who as a Noir loner brings with him unfinished family business.

Along with the Psycho-Thriller edge,the writers drive into the jet-set sunset Neo-Noir genre,where Kimberly finds the glittering sun of Spain to brighten up the mind games and suspicions between her and Ward.  Before he would count down time with Logan’s Run, director Michael Anderson and cinematographer Erwin Hillier keep the timer running with psychological chills, as highly stylised Film Noir shadows surround the villa and hide the family secrets from light. Largely taking place in the Prescott villa, Anderson brings a noose of claustrophobic tension in restrained tracking shots capturing the limited space Kimberly has to uncover the motive behind Ward’s “return.”  Coming in as an outsider with a great, stern Herbert Lom as local cop Vargas, Richard Todd layers on the unsettling, psychopathic, devilish charm as Ward,whilst  Anne Baxter brilliantly follows Kimberley slowly cracking under pressure,as Kimberley digs her nails into the crooked shadow.

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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2018, 03:13:11 AM »

I've seen this just recently. Talking Pictures aired it a couple of times over one weekend.

It's good. I was sympathetic with Anne Baxter. It's  never certain whether she can get Vargas (Herbert Lom) on her side. I think it's a film that can be see every so often. I'm sure that I will forget the complications of the plot and want to see it again before long.

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