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I Just Watched...

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Pharaoh's Curse (1957) - Supernatural horror from United Artists and director Lee Sholem. In Egypt circa 1902, a group of archaeologists led by Capt. Storm (Mark Dana) struggle to survive the hostile desert and attacks from angry Arabs before arriving at an ancient tomb. Their entrance causes one of their number to become cursed, transforming him into a desiccated, bloodthirsty monster. Also featuring Ziva Rodann, Diane Brewster, George N. Reise, Alvaro Guillot, Ben Wright, Guy Prescott, Terence de Marney, Richard Peel, and Kurt Katch.

It takes this one a while to get started, which is bad when the whole thing is 66 minutes long. Once the monster shows up it gets more entertaining, with a few shocking moments. The cast is barely adequate, and the whole thing looks like it was shot in 5 days. It was. If any of this sounds interesting, it will be airing on TCM on October 21st, 11:15 PM Eastern Time.    (5/10)

Source: YouTube

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38 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Desert Fury (1947) Bizarre Noir Soap Opera

desert-fury-movie-poster-1947.jpg

"Desert Fury is the gayest movie ever produced in Hollywood's golden era. The film is saturated - with incredibly lush color, fast and furious dialogue dripping with innuendo, double entendres, dark secrets, outraged face-slappings, overwrought Miklos Rosza violins. How has this film escaped revival or cult status? It's Hollywood at its most gloriously berserk." Eddie Muller

You can forget all of Eddie's quote above and watch this film and within minutes you'll know yourself that something feels screwy. It's just all the wild dialog coming from all the characters. Now Ramona Stewart's book is just as strange as the film and probably more so since it wouldn't have been hampered by the Code. It's been called "an early sleaze novel about a trampy, rebellious daughter and her domineering mother" but goes on to say "Desert Town is a very strange exploration of love in all its forms and the pursuit of one’s desires. But not specifically sexual desire. " J F Norris (Pretty Sinister Books).

Desert Fury was directed by Lewis Allen (Chicago Deadline (1949), Appointment with Danger(1950), Suddenly (1954), and Illegal (1955)). Screenplay by Robert Rossen and  A.I. Bezzerides based on a novel by Ramona Stewart. Cinematography by Edward Cronjager and Charles Lang. Music was by Miklós Rózsa.

The film Stars Lizabeth Scott as Paula Haller, John Hodiak as Eddie Bendix, Burt Lancaster as Tom Hanson, Mary Astor as Fritzi Haller, Wendell Corey as Johnny Ryan, Kristine Miller as Claire Lindquist, William Harrigan as Judge Berle Lindquist, James Flavin as Sheriff Pat Johnson, Jane Novak as Mrs. Lindquist, Anna Camargo as Rosa.

Desert Fury is definitely a curiosity, worth at least a watch, it could fit on a double bill with Inferno. The print I saw from an online streaming service had very crisp look. 6/10. Review with screen caps here in Film Noir/Gangster pages.

So CJ, no mention of the beautiful Technicolor scenery of Sedona AZ where much of Desert Fury was filmed?

A couple years ago I happened to catch this film on TV(can't remember where...perhaps on TCM) and found it fun to take note of the many famous red rock formations that surround this town and to especially see what Sedona looked like back in the late-'40s and decades before all the present development had taken place and this town becoming a major tourist destination.

(...yep, kind'a like how you seem to especially enjoy watching Noirs that were filmed in your stomping grounds of NYC, and how I especially enjoy watching Noirs that were filmed in my old stomping grounds of L.A.)

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16 minutes ago, Dargo said:

So CJ, no mention of the beautiful Technicolor scenery of Sedona AZ where much of Desert Fury was filmed?

A couple years ago I happened to catch this film on TV(can't remember where...perhaps on TCM) and found it fun to take note of the many famous red rock formations that surround this town and to especially see what Sedona looked like back in the late-'40s and decades before all the present development had taken place and this town becoming a major tourist destination.

(...yep, kind'a like how you seem to especially enjoy watching Noirs that were filmed in your stomping grounds of NYC, and how I especially enjoy watching Noirs that were filmed in my old stomping grounds of L.A.)

In the longer review I mention Sedona. 

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1 hour ago, EricJ said:

I mentioned the '11 Ralph Fiennes Coriolanus only because it slipped through the arthouse cracks when it was released--The marketing wasn't helpful, and few outside of Shakespeare enthusiasts had even heard of the play.

Director Fiennes streamlines the play too much for action over dialogue--even pretty much cutting out all of the last scene's speeches, just so he could end it on the tragic "confrontation" note--but actor Fiennes is just spooky/unearthly enough to play the obnoxiously-arrogant war-hero legend, in a modern pseudo-Serbo-Croatian 00's war-state "city of Rome" that looks a lot like Kosovo.

I have admired Ralph Fiennes work in the theater -- and particularly in Shakespeare -- since I saw him play Cobweb in A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park, London, in 1985. The following year, at the same venue, he played Lysander in Dream; and also a wonderfully Victorian Romeo. Since then, I've seen him as Edmund in King Lear; Troilus in Troilus and Cressida; and a gentle and simple Henry VI, over the course of three nights, in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Plantagenets trilogy. I hope to see him next month as Antony in Antony & Cleopatra. I think he wants to play King Lear in the not too distant future.

I worked with Ralph once and mentioned that I had seen him as Cobweb. He told me that a friend of his told him he was the definitive Cobweb! 

cd752d1f0733838557aebb3e775bbe7910635bfcRalph Fiennes and Sarah Woodward in Romeo and Juliet, Open Air Theatre, Regents Park, London, 1986.

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She Devil (1957) - Weird science gone wrong, from 20th Century Fox, Regal Films, and director Kurt Neumann. Scientists Dan Scott (Jack Kelly) and Richard Bach (Albert Dekker) are experimenting with a fruit fly serum that they hope will cause rapid healing in humans. They inject terminal TB patient Kyra Zelas (Mari Blanchard) with the serum, and not only does it completely heal her, but it effectively makes her indestructible. That's a bad thing, since a side effect is that she becomes immoral and criminal, too. Also featuring John Archer, Fay Baker, Blossom Rock, Paul Cavanagh, and X Brands.

This is a showcase for Blanchard, and she seems to have fun with the role. She goes from brunette to blonde and back again, depending on her mood, and she's not above getting physical with those who cross her path. Not enough was done to fully explore the story's concepts, but the budget and schedule were probably very limited.   (6/10)

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"Young Billy Young" - Burt Kennedy - 1969 -

starring Robert Mitchum (Ben Kane), Robert Walker, Jr. (Billy Young), Angie Dickinson (Lily Beloit) and David Carradine (Jesse Boone), Jack Kelly, John Anderson, Willis Bouchey, etc. -

this Western is a very dark tale of an aging gun-for-hire (Robert Mitchum) who is hired by a businessman to clean up a lawless town -

Ben Kane becomes involved with a wild young man (Robert Walker, Jr.) who brings back memories of his dead son -

and with a saloon girl (Angie Dickinson) who's hanging on by a thread -

death itself seems to be lurking around each and every corner -

and the fact that the three lead characters survive is some kind of miracle -

Ben Kane is very rough on Billy Young, because he wants to keep him alive -

and he tries hard to keep Lily Beloit on her feet, too -

he's like an Avenging Angel, who really does know what is best for you -

the film is expertly directed with a persistent sense of doom and gloom 

and Robert Mitchum, Robert Walker, Jr. and Angie Dickinson keep you poised on the edge -

it's a forgotten Western, I think, that deserves to be re-discovered -

  mitch-and-walker.jpg?w=715&h=403

(Robert Mitchum sings the title song.)

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The Undead (1957) - Cheap, goofy paranormal fantasy, from AIP and director Roger Corman. Hypnotist Quintus Ratcliff (Val Dufour) mesmerizes prostitute Diane (Pamela Duncan) into regressing into a past life, one centuries earlier and in Europe, where she was known as Helene, an accused witch sentenced to die at dawn. Ratcliff's hypnosis causes a ripple in the past mind of Diane/Helene, altering events and necessitating Ratcliff himself going back to her time. There he encounters a good witch (Dorothy Neumann), a bad witch (Allison Hayes), an evil imp (Billy Barty), and even Satan himself (Richard Devon). Also featuring Richard Garland, Mel Welles, Bruno VeSota, Maurice Manson, Aaron Saxon, and Dick Miller. 

This is bizarre and stupid as only prime Corman can do it. At times I was impressed with what he tried doing with a low-budget drive-in B picture, using Olde English dialogue through much of the film, however ineptly, and utilizing complicated time travel theory. But then things get dumb again, and a glaringly awful performance or two drags things down, and most of it doesn't make sense. However, I liked the audacious nature of it all, Devon's pointy-eared and pitchfork-wielding Satan, and Allison Hayes' impressive pulchritude.    (5/10)

Source: YouTube

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"Battle for Sevastopol" (2015), just purchased the DVD.  Movie is quite good, one has to get use to the Russian style of film making and the subtitles.  British actress Joan Blackham portrayed Mrs Roosevelt very well. Lyudmila Pavlichenko while at the White House panic when a frying pan was dropped showing the sign of PTSD.  This admission on film definitely would not been shown during the Soviet era.

Unlike "American Sniper" (Zzzz) this sniper film tallied up the body count. You don't see actors being macho or "gun ho" like in many American films

animated-gif-female-soviet-soldier-named

Seems to be 3 genders, men women and fascist. :lol:

 

DVD

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Lyudmila Pavlichenko, circa 1942  News media labeled her "Lady Death".

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Last night I watched LETTER FROM AN UNKOWN WOMAN (1948) after reading comments on this thread. I won't go over what's already been said, just add a few of my impressions....

First, I was struck by Joan Fontaine's narration at the beginning. While I recognized her voice, I was struck by how similar it sounded to Olivia DeHavilland's Melanie from GWTW. I also thought they did a great job making her look like a teenager (no make-up) except teenage girls generally have fuller faces than Fontaine's gaunt look.

I was perplexed by the sudden appearance of a baby...I either dozed off or missed the sexual encounter (typical, haha) because I never got the sense they "did it". It seemed like she went out on a date, kissed the guy & boom! Preggers. Talk about code!

Only when Fontaine (as Lisa) marries a wealthy gentleman does she look like the glorious movie star we know. She finally gets some make up and is just gorgeous in her gown & furs. Pretty gutsy of her to take a part where she only looks good in the last 10 minutes of the movie.

All acting was impressive, Jourdan makes a perfect "crush", Fontaine plays her typical mousy girl. I liked the costumes/sets and storytelling. It's the story of missed opportunities for both of the principle charactors.

Also of note: the picture of Vienna shown under the opening credits looks exactly like Thelma Todd's hometown of Lawrence Mass-large mill factory buildings with clock towers & smokestacks in a mountain valley.

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13 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Desert Fury (1947) Bizarre Noir Soap Opera

desert-fury-movie-poster-1947.jpg

"Desert Fury is the gayest movie ever produced in Hollywood's golden era. The film is saturated - with incredibly lush color, fast and furious dialogue dripping with innuendo, double entendres, dark secrets, outraged face-slappings, overwrought Miklos Rosza violins. How has this film escaped revival or cult status? It's Hollywood at its most gloriously berserk." Eddie Muller

You can forget all of Eddie's quote above and watch this film and within minutes you'll know yourself that something feels screwy. It's just all the wild dialog coming from all the characters. Now Ramona Stewart's book is just as strange as the film and probably more so since it wouldn't have been hampered by the Code. It's been called "an early sleaze novel about a trampy, rebellious daughter and her domineering mother" but goes on to say "Desert Town is a very strange exploration of love in all its forms and the pursuit of one’s desires. But not specifically sexual desire. " J F Norris (Pretty Sinister Books).

Desert Fury was directed by Lewis Allen (Chicago Deadline (1949), Appointment with Danger(1950), Suddenly (1954), and Illegal (1955)). Screenplay by Robert Rossen and  A.I. Bezzerides based on a novel by Ramona Stewart. Cinematography by Edward Cronjager and Charles Lang. Music was by Miklós Rózsa.

The film Stars Lizabeth Scott as Paula Haller, John Hodiak as Eddie Bendix, Burt Lancaster as Tom Hanson, Mary Astor as Fritzi Haller, Wendell Corey as Johnny Ryan, Kristine Miller as Claire Lindquist, William Harrigan as Judge Berle Lindquist, James Flavin as Sheriff Pat Johnson, Jane Novak as Mrs. Lindquist, Anna Camargo as Rosa.

Desert Fury is definitely a curiosity, worth at least a watch, it could fit on a double bill with Inferno. The print I saw from an online streaming service had very crisp look. 6/10. Review with screen caps here in Film Noir/Gangster pages.

Wonder why this hasnt turned up on Noir Alley yet? One of several of Scott's films I'd like to see.

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43 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Wonder why [DESERT FURY] this hasnt turned up on Noir Alley yet? One of several of Scott's films I'd like to see.

i saw it on youtube a loooooooooong time ago, have checked for it again, but it hasn't been available.

it is GORGEOUSLY SHOT, almost reminds me of A LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK. They were going for a LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN vibe with the Southwest scenes.

At the time, I did not see much gay subtext (and I knew what Eddie wrote about it when i saw it, which is why I sought it out),

although if I saw it now, maybe i'd change my mind.

but usually, if there is gay subtext to be found, i am ON IT.

 

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7 hours ago, hamradio said:

"Battle for Sevastopol" (2015), just purchased the DVD.  Movie is quite good, one has to get use to the Russian style of film making and the subtitles.  British actress Joan Blackham portrayed Mrs Roosevelt very well. Lyudmila Pavlichenko while at the White House panic when a frying pan was dropped showing the sign of PTSD.  This admission on film definitely would not been shown during the Soviet era.

Unlike "American Sniper" (Zzzz) this sniper film tallied up the body count. You don't see actors being macho or "gun ho" like in many American films

animated-gif-female-soviet-soldier-named

Seems to be 3 genders, men women and fascist. :lol:

 

DVD

51S3UUWzBnL._SX342_.jpg

 

 

Lyudmila Pavlichenko, circa 1942  News media labeled her "Lady Death".

35825680905_2b2a38bcb4_b.jpg

That's a pretty good film. Another good Russian film about a female sniper is the Forty First. The woman even shoots her own lover in that film! :o 

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Re:  Another good Russian film about a female sniper is the Forty First. The woman even shoots her own lover in that film! :o 

 

That's when you know a guy is bad at love making :blink::lol:

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The Unknown Terror (1957) - Moldy horror adventure from 20th Century Fox, Regal Films, and director Charles Marquis Warren. Dan Matthews (John Howard) leads an expedition into the South American jungle to search for the missing brother of his wife Gina (Mala Powers). They find a hefty scientist (Gerald Milton) experimenting with a deadly fungus in a series of caves that has also resulted in some homicidal monsters. Also featuring Paul Richards, May Wynn, Duane Grey, Richard Gilden, and Martin Gallaraga.

I'd never heard of this mediocre flick before running across it on YouTube. It's not very good, but at least the creature concept is unusual. It takes a while to get to it, though. Before hand, enjoy the musical stylings of Sir Lancelot, "King of the Calypso".    (5/10)

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The Brain Eaters (1958) - Shoestring-budget science fiction from AIP and director Bruno VeSota. Soon after what appears to be an alien spacecraft lands near a small town, townsfolk find themselves being attacked by small creatures that attach themselves to the back of their victims' necks and take over their minds. It's up to a small band of heroes, including scientist Paul Kettering (Ed Nelson), to stop the alien invasion. Also featuring Alan Jay Factor, Cornelius Keefe, Joanna Lee, Jody Fair, David Hughes, Robert Ball, and Leonard Nimoy.

This is an uncredited and unauthorized adaptation of Robert Heinlein's The Puppet Masters. Heinlein later sued the producers, and won. Director VeSota, a frequent actor in Roger Corman's movies, directed this one, and star Nelson, another Corman fave, produced. It's cheaply made, and many of the actors are bad, but there's some decent camerawork, and I didn't think it was as awful as it is frequently said to be. Nimoy, whose name is misspelled in the credits, is unrecognizable under a white wig and beard, and hidden behind thick smoke, but his voice is a giveaway.   (5/10)

Source: YouTube

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How to Make a Monster (1958) - Backstage Hollywood horror from AIP and director Herbert L. Strock. Robert H. Harris stars as Pete Dumond, a veteran movie makeup artist who specializes in monsters. When new corporate bosses take over the studio where Pete works, he's given a pink slip because monster movies are out of fashion. This enrages Pete, so he uses a special makeup and hypnosis to make actors commit murders. Also featuring Paul Brinegar, Gary Conway, Gary Clarke, Malcolm Atterbury, Dennis Cross, Morris Ankrum, Walter Reed, Paul Maxwell, Robert Shayne, and John Ashley as himself.

This in-joke thriller uses the makeup designs from I Was a Teenage Werewolf and Teenage Frankenstein, as well as one of the actors (Conway). I guess Michael Landon was busy elsewhere. This is entertaining, if silly, and the last section, in which the B&W movie suddenly becomes full color, is amusing. John Ashley sings a bad imitation-Elvis song, "You've Got to Have Ee-Ooo". It may be the scariest part of the film.  (6/10)

Source: YouTube

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3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Unknown Terror (1957) - I'd never heard of this mediocre flick before running across it on YouTube. It's not very good, but at least the creature concept is unusual. It takes a while to get to it, though. Before hand, enjoy the musical stylings of Sir Lancelot, "King of the Calypso".    (5/10)

So, Sir Lancelot appeared in a NON-Val Lewton film?

Although this was the B-movie 50's, and a good ten years after "I Walked With a Zombie" and "Curse of the Cat People".

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"Let's Make It Legal" - Richard Sale - 1951 -

starring Claudette Colbert (Miriam), MacDonald Carey (Hugh), Zachary Scott (Victor), Barbara Bates (Barbara), Robert Wagner (Jerry) and Marilyn Monroe (Joyce) -

The basic outline of this tale of marital woe is predictable -

two recently divorced people cannot stay away from each other -

but the screenwriters, F. Hugh Herbert and I.A.L Diamond, ring enough changes on the material to make it engaging and amusing -

Hugh is constantly visiting Miriam in their former residence, because he's worried about the state of his rose garden -

Miriam turns a blind eye to his shenanigans and basically ignores his presence -

Barbara, Miriam's daughter and Jerry, her husband, don't get along with each other, live with Jerry's mother-in-law and seem in danger of a divorce themselves -

Victor, Miriam's former beau, is delighted that Miriam is available again -

and Joyce, a hot blonde, wants Victor for herself -

the ensemble cast seems to be delighted with their roles and embrace the material with a great deal of verve -

they imbue the basically tired material as if it were "new" and "funny", too

this kind of movie needs a fully-engaged cast -

I credit the director with keeping his principals on their toes -

it all ends predictably - and yet somehow satisfactorily -

if Miram and Hugh hadn't reconciled, you would have been so disappointed -

credit F. Hugh Herbert and I.A.L. Diamond for turning some unexpected corners -

even the most familiar territory can bring up some craggy surfaces -

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(It's a one-of-a-kind cast, but somehow Robert Wagner is missing.)

 

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The Space Children (1958) - Juvenile anti-nuke science fiction, from Paramount Pictures and director Jack Arnold. A group of scientists and engineers have been relocated to an oceanside, top secret facility to work on a new rocket capable of putting into orbit a satellite loaded with nuclear weapons. The children of the base staff find a glowing, alien rock that grows into a pulsating brain in cave on the beach. The alien seems to possess some of the children, but to what purpose? Featuring Michel Ray, Adam Williams, Peggy Webber, Johnny Washbrook, Jackie Coogan, Richard Shannon, Raymond Bailey, Sandy Descher, Larry Pennell, Peter Baldwin, Ty Hardin, Johnny Crawford, and Russell Johnson.

The usually reliable director Jack Arnold turns in a real turkey here, a ham-fisted anti-nuke tale that lacks suspense or dramatic heft. The acting ranges from serviceable to poor, and Jackie Coogan is seen wearing shorts.   (4/10)

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Little Caesar (1931)

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Third or fourth time I've seen this. Edward G. Robinson is excellent, and sees that the film still holds up. I especially enjoy Thomas Jackson's languid performance as Sergeant Flaherty.

Rogue Of The Rio Grande (1930)

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Watched this for Myrna Loy. It doesn't overstay its welcome at 51 minutes, but it is ultimately forgettable. Also, the print I watched (on DVD) is terrible and I can only find worse prints online. Recommended only for Myrna Loy completists.

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Terror from the Year 5000 (1958) - Low-budget sci-fi from AIP and writer-producer-director Robert J. Gurney Jr. Scientists at an isolated laboratory on a private island off the coast of Florida are experimenting with a machine to communicate with the future. One of the geniuses turns the power up too high and a mutant woman from the year 5000 is able to come into our time and cause radioactive havoc. Featuring Ward Costello, Joyce Holden, Frederic Downs, John Stratton, Fred Herrick, and Salome Jens.

Shot in Dade County, this obscurity features bad acting, bad dialogue, and an utterly ridiculous monster comprised of a woman in a black cat suit that's been BeDazzled to death. The concept of communicating with a different time is intriguing, but these filmmakers couldn't think of anything better than yet another anti-nuke message. Revered movie editor Dede Allen got an early break here, but I bet she left it off her resume.   (4/10)

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Terror in the Haunted House aka My World Dies Screaming (1958) - Gimmicky thriller from Howco International and director Harold Daniels. Emotionally fragile Sheila (Cathy O'Donnell) is recently released from a sanitarium for health issues, and she's still prone to recurring nightmares. She's also a newlywed to husband Philip (Gerald Mohr), who takes to a secluded house that may or may not be the one from her nightmares, ostensibly to help her overcome her fears once and for all. However, Sheila begins to suspect that supernatural forces are out to get her, and that everyone is in danger. Also featuring William Ching and John Qualen.

The scale of this movie is small, with only four characters and virtually a single setting. It works okay as a psychological thriller, but the backstory gets overly convoluted as things progress and more is revealed. The film's gimmick is also a silly non-starter: filmed in "Psycho-Rama", the movie periodically flashes words and images for a split second, exploiting the junk-science fad of subliminal messaging.    (5/10)

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The Woman Eater (1958) - British killer plant thriller, from Columbia Pictures and director Charles Saunders. Dr. Moran (George Coulouris) discovers a strange, bloodthirsty plant that's worshiped by primitive natives deep in the jungle. He carts both the plant and it's resident caretaker Tanga (Jimmy Vaughn) back to the doctor's large rural English estate. The doctor kidnaps beautiful young women to feed to the plant, which in turn produces a serum that is said to have life-saving effects. Also featuring Vera Day, Robert MacKenzie, Norman Claridge, Sara Leighton, Joy Webster, Peter Forbes-Robertson, Joyce Gregg, and Marpessa Dawn.

I found this rather silly, although it has a few merits. Coulouris gives a good performance, a bit more nuanced than many mad scientist types, and Vera Day looks good in various tight-fitting sweaters. The plant/tree creature is in no way menacing, but I enjoyed the "OooOOoooOOOOoo" scary-movie music.   (5/10)

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