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Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Last Page (aka Man Bait) (1952)

A clerk (Diana Dors) in a book store gets involved with a petty criminal (Peter Reynolds) who pushes her to blackmail her boss (George Brent) for some money. She's reluctant but goes ahead anyway but everything goes wrong. Before Hammer films became synonymous with horror, they did a series of low budget semi-noirs and crime thrillers usually with an American actor (or two) who had seen better days to make the film lucrative to U.S. audiences. Here, George Brent and Marguerite Chapman provide the American "star power" but it's the sexy young Diana Dors, who gets introducing billing, that makes the film watchable. The screenplay is by Frederick Knott who wrote DIAL M FOR MURDER and WAIT UNTIL DARK but this film lacks the the precise detail and intelligence that made those films quality efforts. All the characters here are pretty dumb and their actions are stupid so it's hard to drum up much sympathy for any of them. None of them bother to think out the possible consequences of their actions and the hot water they get into are of their own making. Directed by Terence Fisher, who would go on to become one of Hammer's premier horror directors. With Raymond Huntley and Eleanor Summerfield.

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