Category Archives: Women in Peril

From The Vault: The Naked Edge 1961

THE NAKED EDGE 1961

the naked edge film poster

“ONLY THE MAN WHO WROTE PSYCHO COULD JOLT YOU LIKE THIS”

Director Michael Anderson ( The House of the Arrow 1953, The Dam Busters 1955, Chase a Crooked Shadow 1958, Conduct Unbecoming 1975, Logan’s Run 1976, Dominique is Dead 1979 ) creates a wavelength of dark tension and monochromatic extremes in this atmospheric post noir suspense yarn.

Adapted for the screen by Joseph Stefano’s (The Outer Limits 60s & Psycho 1960) based on the novel by Max Ehrlich (The Reincarnation of Peter Proud, The Glass Web, various dramatic television series)

The Naked Edge opens as the credits roll in a manner similar to Saul Bass, we are dropped into a gruesome stabbing in the darkly lit office building, where George Radcliffe (Gary Cooper)is the key witness.

Sadly, This would be Gary Coopers last film, after battling cancer. The Naked Edge was released a month after his death, but was not received well at the box office.

After Mr. Evan Wrack (the marvelous Peter Cushing) grills the only witness to murder in court Gary Cooper in his last role plays American George Radcliffe whose testimony helps bring a guilty verdict for murder and theft of his co-worker Donald Heath (Ray MacAnally) who then gets sent to prison.

There’s a question as to whether Heath actually committed the crime???

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Years later…

George’s wife Martha, the always enchanting Deborah Kerr begins to suspect her husband when various clues start pointing in his direction… Is she married to a cold blooded killer?

With a fantastic supporting cast, Peter Cushing, Michael Wilding, Eric Portman, Diane Cilento,Hermione Gingold, as Lilly Harris, Ronald Howard, Helen Cherry, Wilfrid Lawson and Diane Clare.

Dramatic musical score by William Alwyn (The Fallen Idol 1948, She Played with Fire 1957, I Accuse! 1958, A Night to Remember 1958, Burn Witch Burn 1962)

Most impressive is the offbeat cinematography by Erwin Hillier  (The Mark of Cain 1947, The House of the Arrow 1953, Chase a Crooked Shadow 1958, and perhaps his best–the extraordinary Eye of the Devil 1966 again with Deborah Kerr, David Niven and Sharon Tate)

Hillier’s quirky angles and low lighting add an apprehensive atmosphere, and loads of key frames that are just beautifully shot as a refrain to the tension. Both Anderson & Hillier love to emphasize faces… it’s a touch that I love about their work together.

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George Radcliffe:“Do you think a woman could live with a man and sleep with him and not know she was sleeping with a murderer?” Martha Radcliffe: “Do murderers make love differently?

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CapturFiles_3 He implied that the fear of giving had something to do with the fear of giving... sexually that is

Lilly Harris-“He implied that the fear of talking, had something to do with the fear of giving… sexually that is”

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There are thousands of films in my collection… this has been one of them! Your ever lovin’ MonsterGirl


Saturday Afternoon: Men Doing Science Again….!!!

Four Sided Triangle (1953)

Four Sided Triangle

Based on the novel by William Temple and adapted to the screen and directed by Terence Fisher, this intriguing, thought provoking British sci-fi melodrama invokes the question of creation, playing god, obsession and fate.

Barbara Payton  (Bad Blonde 1953) plays both Lena and Helen a beautiful women caught between two friends who have adored her since they were children. The brilliant Bill (Stephen Murray) invents a duplication machine, and has pined for Lena since he and Bill used to vie for her affections playing knights with wooden swords. But Lena has always been in love with Robin (John Van Eyssen) the other friend that make up the love triangle.

After succeeding in duplicating watches and rabbits Bill wants to try a human subject. One in particular! Tinges of Lang’s Metropolis...

When Lena and Robin get married, Bill asks Lena to allow him to reproduce her in his contraption so he can possess her too. And Lena agrees… the results are disastrous. Co-starring James Hayter as the sympathetic Dr. Harvey.

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Frankenstein 70 (1958)

Frankenstein1970

Karloff still possesses that lyrical majesty and does the best job he can with this slightly meandering 50’s schlocky script, directed by noir, cult, television drama and big box office–producer/director Howard W. Koch and written by Richard H Landau who scripted The Quartermass Experiment 1955, The Girl in the Black Stockings 1957

As always Karloff’s presence makes any film a joy to watch. He always took his acting seriously and it shows here, which makes this odd little modernity meets old mad science horror flick with some interesting set design and chilling moments worth watching.

Karloff plays the last of the line of Frankensteins who desperately needs money in order to continue his arcane experiments on the reanimation of the monster, he has hidden beneath the family crypt in the Castle. The monster is kept bandaged through out the film, (saves on make-up) and becomes a lumbering bandaged plaster of Paris block head with two hollow holes for eyes. Is it effective or defective… well, I focused on Boris Karloff most of the time.

Frankenstein is now using atomic energy to resurrect his ancestors creation (the lab is actually very groovy Strickfaden would approve), but needs a few more things, like an atomic reactor, brains, eyeballs etc.

Baron Von Frankenstein whose face is badly scarred from the Nazi’s who tortured when he refused to experiment on their victims, allows a film maker and his crew to shoot their low budget horror picture on the grounds, finds their presence an immortal intrusion but he is broke and must put up with the nuisance.

But– the aggressive and meddlesome bunch uncover Dr. Frankenstein’s secret laboratory and it just gets chaotic from there…

Rudolph Anders plays the Baron’s confidante Wilhelm Gottfried, and Norbert Schiller plays the very simple butler Shuter… poor poor Shuter…

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The Mask of Fu Manchu 1932

The.Mask.of.Fu.Manchu.1932

Directed by Charles Brabin and an uncredited Charles Vidor they offer this highly stylized horror/sci-fi-/fantasy hybrid from the 30s!

Boris Karloff is the diabolical genius Fu Manchu who only wishes to conquer the world with the help of his beautiful but equally nefarious daughter Fah Lo See played by the exquisite Myrna Loy.

Sir Nayland Smith of the British Secret Service played by Lewis Stone rushes to the Gobi Desert to find the mysterious mask and sword of Genghis Khan. He must get there before Fu Manchu possesses it’s power.

Fu Manchu kidnaps Sir Lionel Barton and tortures him in order to find out where the great treasures of Genghis Khan are buried in his lost tomb, but Barton refuses to tell…

Mean Sir Lionel’s daughter Sheila (Karen Morely) Sir Nayland Smith, Terrence Granville (Charles Starrett) and Von Berg (Jean Hersholt) set out to uncover the whereabouts of the relics before the evil menace can use them in his diabolical plan to conquer the world!

The Mask of Fu Manchu boasts the wonderful Kenneth Strickfaden designs!

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Your Ever Lovin’ MonsterGirl!


From The Vault-My Name is Julia Ross (1945)

MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (1945)

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“I don’t know what this is all about, but I promise you some very serious trouble unless you stop it immediately. You know perfectly well I’m Julia Ross.”

Directed by Joseph H. Lewis  (The Mad Doctor of Market Street 1942, So Dark the Night 1946, Gun Crazy 1950, A Lady without Passport 1950, The Big Combo 1955) Screenplay by Muriel Roy Bolton from the novel The Woman in Red by Anthony Gilbert. With a fabulous odd angled, shadow stricken spin by cinematographer Burnett Guffey it’s no wonder this suspense thriller has the elements of a stylized psychological noir.  

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Nina Foch is Julia Ross a young English girl seeking employment. She answers an ad at a fake employment agency run by none other than Anita Sharp -Bolster as Sparkes who’s even more cantankerous in this role. Julia, saddened by the news that the guy she loves is marrying another girl, thinks she’s found the perfect job working for a wealthy widow Mrs. Hughes (Dame May Witty) who’s son, the creepy Ralph lives with her.

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George Macready is exceptional as a psychotic who is prone to fits of violence. He has already killed his wife, stabbing her to death and throwing her body into the quiet sea.

Ralph Hughes– {Looking out at the ocean] “Beautiful, isn’t it? Would you like to listen to the sea and hear what it says? It doesn’t say anything, does it? That’s what I like about the sea. It never tells its secrets, and it has many – very many secrets.”

Ralph has a thing for knives, and mommy Hughes has to keep taking sharp objects away from him and locking them away in a drawer. Dame May Witty is superb as his overprotective mother who is willing to concoct an elaborate scheme and even kill in order to cover up her son’s murder.

Ralph Hughes- “It’s all Marion’s fault. She shouldn’t have cried.”

Mrs Hughes- “Ralph, you never told me – was it an accident, or did you intend to kill her after she made her will?”

Ralph- “I didn’t plan it. I liked her well enough, but when she found out I’d been lying about my income, she accused me of marrying her for her money. I said of course that was what I’d married her for. Then she cried. She was always crying. Then she slapped me. I had my knife in my hand, and I…” [He begins slashing at the sofa cushion with his knife, slicing it over and over]

Mrs. Hughes- “Stop it, stop it!” (she tries to take the knife away)

Ralph- “Don’t do that!”

Mrs. Hughes- “Put that away! Ralph, I’m trying to help you.”

Ralph- “I still say we should have called the police and told them a prowler broke in and killed her.”

Mrs. Hughes- “With the marks of your fingers on her? The scratches on your face?”

bertha and julia

Julia goes to live at the house, but once she’s there, Mrs. Hughes, Ralph, and Sparkes drug her tea and spirit her off to the ocean village of Cornwall.

They’ve burned her clothes, stopped any means of communication from getting through, put bars on her windows and convinced the village that she’s out of her mind, so no one believes her story about being Julia Ross being held prisoner by these seemingly well bred murderous grifters.

There they gaslight Julia, telling her that she is the first Mrs Marion Hughes who has had a nervous breakdown. They’ve even convinced Alice the maid (Queenie Leonard) that she’s going mad, and that she’s suicidal. Alice gossips around town and soon after everyone even the police, the doctors and the reverend and his wife believe the Hughes’ story. It seems like there’s no escape for Julia in sight. Along the path to doom, Ralph torments Julia with his menacing presence, and every attempt Julia makes to escape is thwarted. .

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They plan on making it look like she’s committed suicide so they can bury her as Mrs, Hughes, since the real wife is lost at sea. And take her money

After it looks like Julia has taken an overdose of poison…

Ralph –“Why try to save her? Let her die. That’s what we want.”

Mrs. Hughes- “Don’t be stupid, Ralph. If she’s taken poison, we must act as though we cared!”

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noir angle

This is a very taut little suspense yarn that keeps you on the edge up until the end. With some extraordinary camera work and a very simple tale of murder, mistaken identity and mayhem!

Co-starring Ottola Nesmith as Mrs. Robinson, Joy Harrington as the resentfully sullen Bertha, Doris Lloyd is marvelous as Mrs. Mackie, Julia’s landlady, Roland Varno as Julia’s love interest Dennis Bruce, Olaf Hytten as Reverend Lewis and Leonard Mudie as Peters.

There are thousands of films in my collection, this has been one of them!-MonsterGirl


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