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

Thursday, November 19, 2015


THE CRUEL TOWER (1956). Director: Lew Landers.

"I've seen guys with two left feet before, but not on the same leg."

Hungry and needing a job, Tom Kittridge (John Ericson of Rhapsody) goes to work for "Stretch" Clay (Charles McGraw) who is building a kind of water tower in a small town. Stretch has a girl named Mary (Mari Blanchard) even though he already has a wife who's dallying with Stretch's associate, Casey (Steve Brodie). Then there's chubby Joss (Peter Whitney), who is brain-damaged and loyal to Stretch. Unfortunately jealousies and rivalries break out, which isn't so good when men are working high up in the air ... The Cruel Tower might have had more impact had the fellows been working on a skyscraper (as has been erroneously reported elsewhere), but there's still some suspense and excitement, and the tower is plenty high enough for me. Alan Hale Jr. [The Killer is Loose] plays a man who comes afoul of Stretch. The acting is more than okay, with Blanchard [No Place to Land] perhaps making the best impression.

Verdict: Entertaining, with a taut climax, but it just misses being special. **1/2.

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