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

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Mediocre duo: Nigel Davenport and Jean Wallace
NO BLADE OF GRASS (1970). Produced and directed by Cornel Wilde.

Extreme pollution and a grain-destroying virus have combined to cause hunger and even cannibalism in parts of the world, and citizens of the UK are afraid it isn't long before the same thing happens to them. John Custance (Nigel Davenport), his wife, Ann (Jean Wallace), their children, and friend Roger (John Hamill) take off for a farm in the countryside but have a hell of a time getting there. Along the way they hook up with Pirrie (Anthony May), a casual murderer, but they descend into savagery just as much as everyone else. Eventually Custance is pitted against his own brother ... No Blade of Grass is well-directed by Cornel Wilde [The Naked Prey] -- who does not appear in the film but offers some narration -- but can't overcome its weak script and the miscasting of its two mediocre leads, Davenport [A Man for All Seasons] and Wallace [Jigsaw], although there are good performances from members of the supporting cast. There are some arresting sequences, such as the harrowing business when the family tries to get out of a mob-ruled city by car, and a tense stand-off between Custance and Pirrie over the daughter, Mary (Lynne Frederick). George Coulouris [Citizen Kane] has a small role as a gun shop owner. Despite all of the very grim goings-on, No Blade of Grass manages to become quite tedious after awhile. There is hardly a sympathetic character in sight.

Verdict: Unremittingly depressing, and not good enough to compensate for it. **.

No comments: