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

Thursday, February 25, 2016


STRANGE AWAKENING (aka Female Fiends/1958). Director: Montgomery Tully.

"When she was in college she was voted the girl most likely to exceed."

Peter Chance (Lex Barker of Tarzan's Savage Fury) kisses his wife, Iris (Monica Grey) goodbye, drives off, gets in an accident, and winds up waylaid by strangers who take him to their mansion and insist he is really the son of a wealthy man who just died. Having amnesia, Peter isn't certain what to believe, but he meets the ladies in "his" life: His mother, Mrs. Friend (Nora Swinburne); his sister, Marny (Lisa Gastoni); and his wife, Selena (Carole Mathews of The Monster and the Ape). Then there's the attractive maid, Isabella (Malou Pantera), and Dr. Rene Norman (Peter Dyneley of The Manster), the family physician who seems to know a lot more about what's going on than he's saying. Since we know from the first that Peter is not the man everyone is telling him he is, the only suspense is from figuring out the purpose of the deception, which of course has to do with wills, inheritances, and lots of money. As it draws to its not entirely predictable conclusion, there is a little more tension, and the film is well-acted by everyone. This is based on "Puzzle for Fiends" by the prolific Patrick Quentin (Hugh Wheeler). Montgomery Tully also directed Paid to Kill.

Verdict: Hardly classic film noir, but entertaining. **1/2.

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