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

Friday, August 29, 2008


CRIME OF PASSION (1957). Director: Gerd Oswald.

Kathy (Barbara Stanwyck), a lonelyhearts columnist turned reporter, meets and marries cop Bill (Sterling Hayden). Stifled by dull married life, she transfers all of her ambition to Bill, who is perfectly happy plodding along the way he is. First Kathy schemes to become friends with Bill's boss Tony (Raymond Burr) and his wife Alice (Fay Wray). Then she tries to Talk Tony into giving Bill his job upon retirement and then ... Let's just say that Stanwyck gives it the old college try, yelling all over the place, but her vivid performance is the only thing that will keep most viewers watching. This lacks the intensity and steaminess of true film noir; it's just a rather silly melodrama with a heroine who seems too smart to do the stupid things she does. Hayden and Burr are adequate; a middle-aged Wray is fine, and the second zestiest performance comes from Virginia Grey as a woman who's jealous of Kathy and Bill's friendship with the boss.

Verdict: Not exactly Madame Bovary. In fact it's not even Beyond the Forest.**.

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