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

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Eva Bartok and Howard Duff
SPACEWAYS (1953). Director: Terence Fisher.

Dr. Stephen Mitchell (Howard Duff) is an American scientist working on a top-secret British rocket base. One day his wife Vanessa (Cecile Chevreau) disappears with her lover, Dr. Philip Crenshaw (Andrew Osborn). A repellent investigator named Dr. Smith (Alan Wheatley) suggests that Mitchell killed wife and lover, drained some fuel from a rocket, and put their dead bodies inside it to create the perfect murder -- it has been determined that the rocket may not fall back to earth for many decades. Now Mitchell decides the only thing he can do is risk life and limb by taking a manned rocket into space and bringing back the other rocket to prove there are no corpses on board ... Spaceways has an interesting and unusual plot, and it's well-acted and suspenseful enough to be reasonably entertaining. Director Fisher, responsible for several zesty Hammer horror flicks, does a briskly-paced job, and the beginning of the picture really pulls you in, even if the rest is somewhat disappointing. Duff [Dante] is more than okay as the leading man; Bartok, who is better as the leading lady, also gives a good performance. Michael Medwin plays another scientist named Toby, and Philip Leaver is the fatherly Professor Koepler. Bartok makes a very different impression in this movie than she does in Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace.

Verdict: Good story line with so-so execution. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Howard Duff had quite the long career. I remember him mostly from his later roles in the 1980s, particularly Robert Altman's A Wedding...

William said...

Apparently he and Ida Lupino had a distinctly unpleasant break-up. I never cared for the Lucy-Desi episode they did, but Duff gave some decent performances elsewhere.