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Thursday, November 17, 2011

No Orchids For Miss Blandish (1948)

A wealthy heiress by the name of Miss Blandish (Linden Travers, THE LADY VANISHES) is kidnapped but her kidnapping is botched up and her abductors killed and she is taken instead by the Grissom gang. However, she and the head (Jack La Rue) of the Grissom gang fall in love and she becomes his mistress, much to the chagrin of the rest of the gang who want to hold her for ransom. Based on the much admired novel of the same name by James Hadley Chase, this is quite an oddity. It's a British film but it takes place in the U.S. (but filmed in England) and with the exception of La Rue (who's American), the rest of the cast consists of Brits playing Americans and with two exceptions (MacDonald Parke, Richard Nielson), not very well. They all sneer and talk tough but remain unconvincing, as if children dressing up and playing gangsters. For its day, it was quite a shocker with its graphic violence and kinky sexual relationships although the U.S. originally saw it in a severely edited version. It's still a fascinating watch though it's not very good. Robert Aldrich remade it more effectively (though not necessarily better) in 1971 under the title THE GRISSOM GANG. Directed by St. John Legh Clowes with a wonderful score by George Melachrino. With Hugh McDermott and Lilli Molnar. The definitive version of the novel has yet to be made.

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