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

Thursday, October 16, 2014


HONG KONG CONFIDENTIAL (1958). Director: Edward L. Cahn.

Special Agent Casey Reed (Gene Barry of The War of the Worlds) works in a nightclub in Hong Kong as a singer as his cover. He is told that the Russians have kidnapped the young son, Abdul, of Thamen's King Faid, to force his cooperation in a deal that is also important to the U.S.. Reed is assigned to find the boy, and along the way pretends to be a crook who wants an alliance with Macao gold smuggler Elena Martine (Allison Hayes of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman) and her associates, Chung (Philip Ahn) and Owen Howard (Noel Drayton). Casey's pretty accompanist, Fay (Beverly Tyler) is brought to Macao via subterfuge to put pressure on Reed. Hong Kong Confidential has obtrusive narration that tells us what we're seeing, and is on the level of a cheap TV production, but it does boast a tense scene when Reed, still pretending to be a crook, is told to prove his loyalty by killing the British agent John Blanchard (Michael Pate); the climax is also suspenseful and the movie is fast-paced. The performances are okay, although Hayes, without much of a character to play, seems a trifle bored at times. Ed Kemmer also appears as an old flame of Fay's. When Barry goes into his song and dance routine it looks as if he's doing a parody! Cahn directed a number of cheapie-creepies, some of which, like Voodoo Woman, were a lot of fun.

Verdict: Amos Burke meets the 50 Foot Woman. **1/2.

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