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

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Esther Dale and Beverly Michaels
BETRAYED WOMEN (1955). Director: Edward L. Cahn.

"He'd whack me and I'd belt 'im back. I ain't complainin' -- he was the only guy I ever loved."

Honey Blake (Beverly Michaels) is arrested after her gangster boyfriend, the unseen "Baby Face," is shot down by cops. Honey winds up in a woman's prison which the producers of this film admit is more like Devil's Island than reality. Head Matron Ballard (Esther Dale) is a tough cookie for an old dame, but the real sadist in the bunch is the head guard, Darcy, played by -- of all people -- Sara Haden, or Andy Hardy's sweet old aunt Milly. Other inmates include Nora Collins (Peggy Knudsen) whose boyfriend, Jeff Darrell (Tom Drake), was also her lawyer, only he wouldn't commit perjury to get her off; and Kate Morrison (Carole Mathews), who hid $50,000 for her boyfriend only to learn that he's gone and married another woman. Kate is determined to break out of jail with Honey and grab the loot, but Honey has also sets her sights on all that moolah. There's a prison break, hostages, a run for the swamps, betrayal, and lots of shooting. Betrayed Women is a snappy "B" movie that moves swiftly, isn't completely predictable, and is quite well-acted by the entire cast. Dale is terrific, Drake [The Cyclops] appealing and sympathetic, Haden makes her mark as the nasty Darcy, Knudsen [Hilda Crane]  and Mathews [The Man with My Face] are more than competent, and Beverly Michaels, always vivid and watchable, is especially outstanding in this. This gal should have had a much bigger career, but she left behind some vital and entertaining portrayals. Part of her problem was that she was generally taller than her leading men.

Verdict: Nifty and suspenseful B with some excellent performances. ***.

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