Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


BLACKOUT (aka Murder By Proxy/1954). Director: Terence Fisher.

Casey Morrow (Dane Clark) is moping around getting drunk in a bar when an attractive blond named Phyllis (Belinda Lee) pays him 500 dollars to marry her. He later learns that her father was murdered later that night, that she is already engaged to another man, and seeks the help of a painter, Maggie (Eleanor Summerfield), who is doing a portrait of the mysterious Phyllis. Blackout meanders along from scene to scene without much suspense or tension and director Terence Fisher seems as disinterested with the material as the viewer probably will be. There is a very good scene when Casey sees his mother (Nora Gordon/Gorden) for the first time in several years wherein the actress beautifully expresses both her joy at seeing her boy and her suppressed rage at his being out of touch for so long. Clark and the other cast members all give good performances, but the movie is more tedious than anything else. Betty Ann Davies shows some bite as Phyllis' unlovely mother. Another Hammer studio crime drama released in the US by Lippert. The later film Homicidal also had a blond paying a man to marry her but was much, much more entertaining. Lee was in the far superior Footsteps in the Fog the following year, and Summerfield made Man Bait the year before.

Verdict: Watch this during a blackout. **.   

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