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Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Price Of Fear (1956)

A business woman (Merle Oberon) who's had too much to drink hits a pedestrian with her car but she leaves the scene without reporting the incident. A man (Lex Barker) on the run from some gangsters steals her car to get away from the thugs. When she later reports her car stolen, the man is arrested ..... for the hit and run she committed! Thus begins a series of events, duplicity and double crosses that can't go anywhere but bad. Universal in the 1950s was a haven for aging female stars (Joan Crawford, Jane Wyman, Hedy Lamarr, June Allyson, Esther Williams among them) with fading careers and this was Merle Oberon's turn. One of the screen's great beauties, Oberon was never much of an actress but this duplicitous aging femme fatale role doesn't tax her acting abilities yet it plays to her strengths (her elegant iciness). It's a minor thriller that might have been elevated with a Stanwyck in the part but on its own pulp terms, it gets the job done. It's efficient with just enough creativity to keep you interested. Directed by Abner Biberman. With Gia Scala, Charles Drake, Warren Stevens, Phillip Pine and Mary Field.

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