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

Thursday, August 30, 2018


George Nader, Michel Ray, Cornell Borchers
FLOOD TIDE (1958). Director: Abner Biberman.

Former playboy Steve Martin (George Nader of Shannon) has fallen in love with his neighbor, Anne (Cornell Borchers), but they have to contend with the jealousy and manipulations of her crippled ten-year-old son, David (Michel Ray). Another concern is that David may have lied when he told the police that another of his mother's suitors, a man named Halloran (Russ Conway), dumped a drunken friend into the ocean after an argument, causing his death. While Steve deals with his on-again/off-again romance with Anne, he does his best to bond with the boy, and also find out the truth about Halloran, who is serving time in jail for a crime he may not have committed. Flood Tide is an interesting and unusual romantic drama that greatly benefits from a excellent performance from the young Ray, who was actually fourteen at the time (looking younger) and by any standard was one of the most talented child actors in pictures. (Ray made only a few films, including The Brave One, Space Children, and Lawrence of Arabia before retiring from the movies to further his education and becoming a multi-billionaire.) In contrast, George Nader, who is at least competent in this and was seen to much better advantage in other parts (such as "Self-Defense" on Alfred Hitchcock Presents), is a trifle perfunctory, as if he's afraid of showing too much emotion. Cornell Borchers is much better as David's sympathetic, but slightly unstable mother. Flood Tide is not an out and out thriller, but at times is threatens to turn into The Bad Seed with a sex change, and while we are always aware that this is a tormented ten-year-old boy, his behavior is very borderline and even criminal at times. Steve's attempts to play child psychologist, however, are often pitiful. Joanna Moore [Monster On the Campus] is fine in a small role as one of Steve's girlfriends, and Troy Donahue shows up very briefly as a young man on the beach who reports that David is ill. Cornell Borchers had mostly German credits and only one film and one TV appearance after this film was released. She and young Ray also appeared in The Divided Heart and she was Rock Hudson's leading lady in Never Say Goodbye.

Verdict: Absorbing, and sometimes moving, in spite of itself. ***. 

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