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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


MANFISH (1956). Director: W. Lee Wilder.

Brannigan (John Bromfield), the captain of the turtle boat Manfish, has a decidedly uneasy alliance with "the professor" (Victor Jory), who can lead him to a chest of treasure collected by the pirate Lafitte. Swede (Lon Chaney Jr. in what really amounts to a supporting role) is the mate who seems to love the Manfish even more than the Captain does. Tessa Prendagast is the sexy native girl Alita, and Barbara Nichols was "introduced" in the film as Mimi, the singing sometime girlfriend of the captain's. Manfish isn't terrible or terribly boring, it just throws together different elements -- treasure hunts, jealousy, babes and pirates -- that never really jell. Supposedly based on two Edgar Allan Poe stories, the movie has absolutely nothing to do with Poe. Jory gives probably his strangest ever performance. Bromfield and the gals are vital enough, and Chaney is typically mediocre. Bromfield was also in Revenge of the Creature, Three Bad Sisters, and The Furies.

Verdict: Only for the curious. **.

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