Showing posts with label Rod Taylor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rod Taylor. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hell on Frisco Bay (1955)

Steve Rollins (Alan Ladd) is a man who's been wronged. After serving a 5 year sentence at San Quentin for a crime he didn't commit, the former cop is now free. Waiting for him at the gate is his old partner Dan (William Demarest) who sticks with him through thick and thin, and his wife Marcia (Joanne Dru), a lounge singer who gave into temptation while her husband was away. But Steve can't be bothered with dealing with his failed marriage. He's on a mission to track down the one man responsible for putting him in the slammer: Vic Damato (Edward G. Robinson). He got a hot tip from Frank Ragoni about who set him up and now Ragoni is missing. All fingers point to Damato who leads a mob syndicate that terrorizes the Italian fishing community of San Francisco. He's drunk with power and will kill anyone who gets in his way, even one of his own. He rules his team with an iron fist. First there's his number one man, Joe (Paul Stewart), who will do anything Damato tells him to but pulls away when he starts a romance with former screen star Kay (Fay Wray). Then there's Hammy (Stanley Adams), a blood thirsty mobster who is a little too eager to please, Damato's naive nephew Mario (Perry Lopez) and his man on the inside, dirty cop Detective Connors (Peter Hansen). Steve must make his way through web of shady characters to uncover the truth and to bring down Damato once and for all.

Hell on Frisco Bay (1955) is a fascinating noir, filmed in Cinemascope and Warner Color by with plenty of on-location shooting in the city by the bay. San Francisco serves as the beautiful backdrop for a dark tale of disturbed characters. Viewers will see shots of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf and the San Francisco, Ghirardelli Square, the Embarcadero and the iconic hills of San Francisco. Anyone familiar with the city will find plenty of recognizable scenery.

Based on the novel The Darkest Hour by William P. McGivern, Hell on Frisco Bay was adapted by screenwriters Sydney Boehm and Martin Rackin for Warner Bros. McGivern also wrote The Big Heat which is one of my favorite Noirs and one of the best films Fritz Lang made during his time in Hollywood. It was directed by Frank Tuttle who worked with Alan Ladd on This Gun for Hire (1942). Ladd, who also served as an uncredited producer through his company Jaguar Productions, hired Tuttle and other colleagues from his Paramount days including William Demarest, Paul Stewart and Anthony Caruso.

This Noir boasts a cast of characters portrayed by some of the best in the business. Edward G. Robinson playing a heartless mobster is no stretch as he had been playing such characters for many years. Alan Ladd looks worse for wear but his performance as Steve begs for the audience's sympathy but also holds them at a distance. I was quite taken with Paul Stewart's nuanced performance as Damato's reluctant sidekick Joe. He's not an actor I'm all that familiar with but this film definitely brought him to my attention. Fay Wray has an important but small role as a former actress who tries to protect her gangster boyfriend. I wish Joanne Dru and William Demarest had more to do in the film. They really just serve as the protagonist's counter parts. Starlet Jayne Mansfield has a bit role as the girl Perry Lopez dances with at Damato's night club. A young Rod Taylor, billed as Rodney Taylor, has a small role as one of Damato's thugs. His fight seen with Alan Ladd isn't quite believable but it's still fun to see Taylor in what was his fourth movie. In fact Ladd and Robinson have a big action-packed scene in San Francisco Bay that is also not quite believable. But with the help of stunt men and some studio footage, it works.

Hell on Frisco Bay is a gorgeous movie. Where it lacks in story telling it makes up for in stunning visuals and dramatic music by Max Steiner. This movie makes me long for a time when you could dress up, go to a classy lounge, have a drink and hear a good song or two. I always forget how richly visual 1950s movies are until I watch a good one and am reminded of this fact. Because of the gorgeous color cinematography, the film felt less like a Noir and more like a 1950s drama. I don't think this hurts the film at all. It makes it more of a hybrid.

Hell on Frisco Bay is available on Blu-Ray and DVD-MOD from the Warner Archive Collection. According to their recent podcast Hard Lessons this is the first time this film has been available either on DVD or Blu-Ray format. The film has been remastered from the original camera negative at 4k. You can buy the DVD and Blu-Ray at the WB Shop. Using my buy links helps support this site. Thanks!

Warner Archive Wednesday - On (random) Wednesdays, I review one title from the Warner Archive Collection. Thank you to Warner Archive for sending me a copy of Hell on Frisco Bay (1955) to review!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Liquidator (1965)

Rod Taylor could have played James Bond. In the documentary Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches, Taylor recalled meeting with Bond series producer Albert "Cubby Broccoli. When the part was offered to Taylor he responded saying, "Cubby it'll never work. That's TV. It'll never work on the big screen." Boy was Taylor wrong. In fact, he called it "the most stupidest remark I've ever made." However, Taylor got to play a James Bond-like character with Boysie Oakes/Agent L. in  The Liquidator. Taylor recalled the experience saying, "I had a ball. I played everything James Bond did tongue-in-cheek."

Trevor Howard in The Liquidator (1965)
Trevor Howard as Colonel Mostyn

Rod Taylor in The Liquidator (1965)
Rod Taylor as Agent L/Boysie Oakes

Trevor Howard and Rod Taylor in The Liquidator (1965)

"He's a killer. He conceals it beautifully." - Colonel Mostyn

And The Liquidator (1965) was just that; a spy movie that didn't take itself too seriously. Rod Taylor stars as Boysie Oakes. During WWII, he saved Colonel Mostyn (Trevor Howard) completely by accident. Mostyn interprets the event very differently. Years later when the Colonel needs a trained assassin to eliminate enemies of the state, he knows just the man. Problem is Oakes isn't a killer, he's just really lucky. Oakes becomes Agent L (L for Liquidator) and is trained by Mostyn and his crew to take on the part. When Oakes fails his first task he quietly hires professional assassin Griffen (Eric Sykes) to do the dirty work while Oakes does what he does best, seduce beautiful women. Things are going well for Oakes. He's living the good life and secretly romancing Mostyn's secretary Iris Macintosh (Jill St. John), something that's strictly against Mostyn's rules. When the couple elopes to Monte Carlo, Oakes is captured by Russian operatives, including bumbling mastermind Sheriek (Akim Tamiroff), Oakes must escape and carry on Mostyn's new mission. But everything is not as it seems and Agent L's reality is about to do a complete 180 degree turn.

Eric Sykes and Rod Taylor in The Liquidator (1965)
Eric Sykes and Rod Taylor

Jill St. John in The Liquidator (1965)
Jill St. John as Iris Macintosh

Jill St. John and Rod Taylor in The Liquidator (1965)
Jill St. John and Rod Taylor

Akim Tamiroff and Rod Taylor in The Liquidator (1965)
Akim Tamiroff and Rod Taylor

The movie is based on the novel The Liquidator by John Gardner (not to be confused with the other John Gardner, author of Grendel). The book was released in 1964. MGM producer Jon Penington read the book on a plane and immediately sought to buy the film rights as soon as he landed in Los Angeles. He beat out a rival producer by just a few minutes. Penington hired writer Peter Yeldham to adapt Gardner's novel for the screen. MGM intended this to be a series and optioned two more films. However, MGM had just missed the spy movie fury. The release was delayed due to a rights issue which contributed to the eventual poor box office performance. The series was never meant to be.  Author John Gardner went on to write seven more novels in the Boysie Oakes series but none of them were ever adapted for the screen. Spy stories were Gardner's specialty and he even wrote some James Bond stories after Ian Fleming passed away.

Directed by cinematographer turned director Jack Cardiff, The Liquidator was filmed at MGM's British studios and on location in Monte Carlo, Nice and the Antibes. Trevor Howard and Rod Taylor were well suited to their roles and this is evident in their performances. Screenwriter Yeldham recalled that the two didn't get along well with each other on set because they had very different sensibilities.

Rod Taylor did all his own stunts for the film. Prior to filming the scene where Taylor fights another character as his car dangles on the edge of a cliff, it had rained. The crew dried off the car but the hood was still slick. In one shot you see Taylor almost slip off the hood. But luckily he grabbed on tightly and avoided falling 300+ feet to the rocky terrain below.

I don't care what anyone says, The Liquidator is a flat-out entertaining movie. It part comedy and part political thriller. These two conflicting elements makes the experience all that more enjoyable. While watching this, I couldn't help of the two Kingsman movies, Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I wonder if The Liquidator at all influenced those stories. At one point Trevor Howard's Mostyn yells out "Remember your training!" to Rod Taylor's Oakes. That exact quote spoken in a similar situation is in The Golden Circle and delivered by Mark Strong's Merlin to Taron Egerton's Eggsy. Like The Liquidator, Kingsman has conflicting elements. On one level it's a serious action thriller with a lot of class and some excellent suits. On another level it can be quite ridiculous, in a fun way, and the class is toned down with a good dose of raunchiness.

Betty McDowall and Rod Taylor in The Liquidator (1965)
Betty McDowall plays Rod Taylor's first target.

Rod Taylor in The Liquidator (1965)
Rod Taylor checks out the bar in his swanky new pad.

Let's be honest I watched this movie for three reasons: Rod Taylor, Jill St. John, and Akim Tamiroff. And they did not disappoint. Taylor's character fit him like a glove. St. John is always a pleasure on screen and her story line allows her to give two very different performances. The female roles are seriously lacking in this film and St. John's had more potential than was achieved. I adore character actor Akim Tamiroff. He proves to be utterly enjoyable as the bumbling villain. I have a new found appreciation for Trevor Howard after watching his performance as Mostyn. Also notable is actor David Tomlinson who plays the conniving Quadrant who tricks Oakes into a mission. His life story proved to be rather interesting and I'd love to see more of his work. The film boasts some beautiful cinematography, no doubt thanks to Jack Cardiff's notable talent. There is also a lot to enjoy if you're like me and gravitate towards eye grabbing clothing and set design. Tying it more to the James Bond movies, singer Shirley Bassey sings the title song "My Liquidator" written by Lalo Schifrin and Peter Callender for the film.

The Liquidator is a thoroughly enjoyable movie that doesn't take itself too seriously, even if you sometimes want it too.

The Liquidator is available on DVD-MOD from the Warner Archive Collection. You can purchase the DVD from the WB Shop. Use my buy links to shop and you will help support this site. Thanks!

Warner Archive Wednesday - On (random) Wednesdays, I review one title from the Warner Archive Collection. Thank you to Warner Archive for sending me a copy of The Liquidator (1965) to review!

Monday, October 30, 2017

The High Commissioner (1968)

Police Sergeant Scobie Malone (Rod Taylor) was summoned from his ranch for a government mission, one of importance but also shrouded in mystery. Australia's High Commissioner, Sir Quentin (Christopher Plummer) is wanted for the murder of his first wife. Malone heads to London to arrest Quentin but what seems like a straightforward job is not what it seems. Quentin is in the middle of a very serious negotiations with foreign nations to prevent a world crisis. He pleads with Malone to give him just enough time to finish his negotiations and he will willingly head back to Sydney with Malone to face the charges. However, assassins try to kill Quentin before he can go through with his plan. Malone goes from jailer to bodyguard as he tries to protect Quentin. He must also face the three women in Quentin's circle. First there is Lady Quentin (Lilli Palmer), Sir Quentin's wife and confidante. She will do anything and everything to protect her husband. Then there is Quentin's secretary Lisa Pretorious (Camilla Sparv) who is also fiercely protective of his boss. And then there's the exotic Maria Cholon (Dalilah Lavi) who charms the men at Quentin's parties, including Malone, while secretly running a counter spy ring.

Originally released as Nobody Runs Forever, The High Commissioner (1968) was directed by British filmmaker Ralph Thomas. The story was based on Australian author Jon Cleary's novel The High Commissioner which was originally published in 1966. Meant to be a stand-alone story about police inspector Scobie Malone, the first novel was so popular Cleary subsequently wrote 19 more detective novels featuring the same character. Cleary's Malone novels and other stories were adapted into movies and TV shows over 20 times. He also wrote The Sundowners. When Nobody Runs Forever was released in the US later in 1968 the title was changed to match Cleary's novel.

The High Commissioner was filmed on location in London and at Pinewood Studios. There is one aerial shot of Sydney Harbor and you can see the beginning construction of the Sydney Opera House in the background. There is also a scene at a Wimbledon game later on in the film. Produced by indie Katzka-Berne Productions, as well as other production companies including Rod Taylor's Rodlor, unfortunately the film did not perform well at the box office and proved to be a financial loss.

Rod Taylor and Christopher Plummer

This is a shame because as a political espionage, this movie has a lot to offer. It's got world politics, action, sex, betrayal and clashing cultures. Rod Taylor is in his element as a rough-and-tough Australian police sergeant. This part is not stretch for him by any means. Christopher Plummer is incredibly charming as the heroic yet pained Sir Quentin. He smolders on screen. Lady Quentin, played by Lilli Palmer, is much older than her husband. In fact Palmer was 15 years older than Plummer. However the age difference is never brought up in the film, something I found surprising and rather refreshing. It's clear there is an age difference but Sir Quentin isn't with her for political gain or for money. They simply love each other and this is made very clear in the movie. I wonder if this was an element of the story that was kept from the original novel or added to the movie. Some notable performances include Clive Revill as Joseph, the Quentin's butler who butts heads with Malone and secretly works as an agent. The High Commissioner was the last film for Franchot Tone who makes a brief appearance as Ambassador Townsend who in the story is bedridden in the city hospital. It's also the final film for Trinidadian singer and actor Edric Connor who has a small role as a foreign diplomat. Connor passed away a few months after the film was released.

The High Commissioner (1968) is quite satisfying. It had a lot of what I love about films from that era without being campy. It's a serious thriller with some implausible scenarios that require the audience to suspend their disbelief. The movie is beautifully shot, has some fine performances and is overall very enjoyable.

The High Commissioner is being released later next month from Kino Lorber on DVD and Blu-Ray. I watched the Blu-Ray which was quite a treat. Thank you to Kino Lorber for sending me this movie for review.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hotel (1967)

Hotel (1967)

"I'm an old-fashioned innkeeper. I take care of my employees and they take care of my guests. That's the way I want it to be. I don't want it to change." - Melvyn Douglas as Warren Trent

Hotel (1967) follows the story of the fictitious New Orleans hotel the St. Gregory. Pete McDermott (Rod Taylor) is at the heart of the business. As the hotel manager he oversees all staff, attends to any urgent needs of the hotel guests and conducts business with the owner Warren Trent (Melvyn Douglas). Although the St. Gregory is the destination for many illustrious guests, it's in serious financial trouble. Pete convinces Mr. Trent to entertain an offer by wealthy hotelier Curtis O'Keefe (Kevin McCarthy). However, O'Keefe threatens to transform the place into a cold moneymaker rather than an inviting hotel with hospitality as it's main focus. O'Keefe brings with him his girl of the moment, a young Parisian beauty Jeanne Rochefort (Catherine Spaak). Jeanne is tired of O'Keefe and soon falls for the charming hotel manager. O'Keefe uses Jeanne and his co-horts to try to seal the deal for the hotel while Pete and Mr. Trent quickly try to find another buyer.

Rod Taylor as Pete McDermott in Hotel (1967)
Rod Taylor as Pete McDermott

Melvyn Douglas as Warren Trent in Hotel (1967)
Melvyn Douglas as Warren Trent in Hotel (1967)

Kevin McCarthy as Curtis O'Keefe in Hotel (1967)
Kevin McCarthy as Curtis O'Keefe

Catherine Spaak as Jeanne Rochefort
Catherine Spaak as Jeanne Rochefort

Then there are the hotel guests who prove to be an interesting bunch of characters, each with their own agenda. Merle Oberon plays Duchess Caroline whose husband Duke Geoffrey (Michael Rennie) killed a child in a drunken hit-and-run accident. The Duchess tries to cover it up but the hotel detective Dupere (Richard Conte) is on to them and tries to extort them. Then there is Karl Malden as Keycase Milne, the resident hotel thief with an impressive collection of room keys. He has his eye on the Duke and Duchess's room and the possible treasures inside. When a black couple book a stay at the hotel and Pete is not around, the hotel turns them away causing a scandal that's splashed across the newspapers. A business deal gone sour, an extortion, theft, a civil rights dilemma, a forbidden romance and an elevator on the fritz, everything comes to a crashing climax. The ending is one that I didn't expect but one that left me immensely satisfied and feeling good about the story's overall message: stay true to yourself.

Michael Rennie and Merle Oberon as the Duke and Duchess
Michael Rennie and Merle Oberon as the Duke and Duchess

Karl Malden as Keycase Milne
Richard Conte as Detective Dupere in Hotel (1967)
Richard Conte as Detective Dupere

Hotel (1967) is a gratifying film to watch on a rainy day. If you don't have any high expectations you'll be pleasantly surprised. It has it's flaws. It's terribly old-fashioned but that's what I liked about it. Taylor and Spaak lacked chemistry and Spaak quite one note to me. Another actresses would have livened up the film. I found everyone to be delightful to watch including Taylor, Melvyn Douglas, Karl Malden, Richard Conte and even Merle Oberon who I don't particularly care for. Jazz singer Carmen MacRae has a small role as the hotel lounge singer. Clinton Sundberg, a regular in 1940s collegiate movies, plays hotelier O'Keefe's personal assistant.

One could see Hotel (1967) as the 1960s answer to Grand Hotel (1932). The film was directed by Richard Quine, someone I have a keen interest in. Some exteriors and interiors were shot in New Orleans most notably in the French Quarter and in the New Orleans International Airport. Everything else was shot on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California. Gowns were designed by Edith Head and Merle Oberon wore her own jewelry including a piece that once belonged to Marie Antoinette. The story was based on the best-selling novel by Canadian writer Arthur Hailey. He's also known for his novel Airport which was adapted in 1970 and spawned a series and a spoof. Hotel became a TV series in the 1980s starring Anne Baxter and James Brolin.

I enjoyed Hotel (1967) for it's motley cast of characters, interesting plot lines and for that glorious ending. It also serves as a time capsule of the goings on of a 1960s era hotel. The movie makes me long for a time when morals and personal truths trump greed. I'm drawn to movies about workplaces and this one did not disappoint.

Hotel (1967) is available on DVD-MOD from the Warner Archive Collection. You can purchase the DVD from the WB Shop.

Warner Archive Wednesday - On (random) Wednesdays, I review one title from the Warner Archive Collection. Thank you to Warner Archive for sending me a copy of Hotel (1967) to review!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches (2016)

Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches

"He's a man's man. He's a woman's man. He's an ideal man." - Angela Lansbury

Australian actor Rod Taylor burst upon the Hollywood scene in the late 1950s but it wasn't until his seminal film The Time Machine came out in 1960 that he became a major movie star.  Good looks coupled with a talent for comedy and drama, Taylor was a force to be reckoned with. He had an artistic soul beneath a rugged Aussie exterior. He was a born adventurer and up for anything. Taylor did his own stunts, was an expert at accents and had a charisma that translated well on screen. As one of the top leading men of the 1960s, Taylor paved the way for Australian movie stars to come.

Born in a suburb of Sydney, Rod Taylor was raised by a very Aussie father and a very British mother who both had a profound influence on his creative pursuits. At a young age he pursued drawing, painting and pottery as his artistic trade. It wasn't until he heard a radio program that he realized he could be an actor. He worked on radio and on some movies in his homeland and was quickly scooped up by American filmmakers and lured to Hollywood. His early work consisted of small parts in big pictures. He worked alongside many greats including Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Montgomery Clift, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Bette Davis and more. When The Time Machine came out in 1960, Taylor was already dabbling in TV work with his series Hong Kong. Both made an impact on audiences and Taylor's life as a major movie star began. He continued to work throughout the 1960s and 1970s in some great parts with some of the best in the business. Even parts he didn't particularly care for helped him in one way or another. Taylor was driven by the love of his art, his adventurous spirit and as he liked to say "a bit of ego thrown in."

Rod Taylor

Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches, a new documentary by Robert de Young and Stephan Wellink, sets out to not only to tell the story of Taylor's acting career but to capture the essence of the man. Told through interviews, photographs and movie clips, we see the span of his work and talent. It benefits from having the man himself, Rod Taylor, as the main interview subject. The filmmakers interviewed him over two days at Taylor's home in Beverly Hills. Taylor passed away in early 2015 making this documentary a timely treasure. (We even get to hear a bit about Taylor's former love interest Anita Ekberg who passed away only a few days after he did.) Several other talking heads in the documentary, all of whom were important figures in Taylor's life, include Angela Lansbury, Tippi Hedren, Maggie Smith, Baz Luhrmann, Stephan Elliott, screenwriter Peter Yeldham, Susie Porter, Keitch Michell and others like Taylor's biographer, manager, lawyer, etc.

Films discussed at length include: The Catered Affair (1956), Raintree Country (1957), The Time Machine (1960), Colossus and the Amazon Queen (1960), 101 Dalmations (1961), Seven Seas to Calais (1962), The Birds (1963), The V.I.P.s (1963), Sunday in New York (1963), The Liquidator (1965), Young Cassidy (1965), The Glass Bottom Boat (1966), Dark of the Sun (1968), The Man Who Had Power Over Women (1970), The Train Robbers (1973), Welcome to Woop Woop (1997) and his final film Inglorious Basterds (2009). You'll hear Rod Taylor himself tell you stories about working on each of these. Taylor seemed to be a fun-loving guy who really enjoyed his work and looked back fondly on his career. He was a colorful character and that definitely shows through.

Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches reinvigorated my interest in Rod Taylor. I was instantly hooked. Taylor was an immensely captivating figure and it doesn't hurt that his blue eyes, with just a hint green in them, are simply mesmerizing. I've always been drawn to Rod Taylor films. I thought I had seen quite a lot of them until I watched this doc and realized I had to dive further into his filmography. I enjoyed the graphic design elements of the documentary and how it was sectioned by theme in a sort of chronological order. It was aesthetically pleasing and a lot of fun to watch.

Rod Taylor Pulling No Punches is a thoroughly enjoyable documentary that captures the essence of the Australian movie star who charmed audiences around the world. Highly recommended.

Check out the official Facebook page for more details about the film. I hope a DVD and Blu-Ray release will be in the near future. It recently won Best Feature Documentary at the Burbank International Film Festival.

My good friend Jessica reviewed the documentary and interviewed the director and producer on her blog Comet Over Hollywood. I recommend you read it. She introduced me to the film!

Many thanks to the filmmakers for the opportunity to review the screener.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

36 Hours (1965)

 36 Hours (1965)

Prisoners of war are interrogated and tortured for their secrets. But what happens when they're tricked out of them?

Directed and adapted for the screen by George Seaton, 36 Hours (1965) is a fascinating WWII film about a major in the US Navy whose drugged and captured by the Germans. When he comes to he's made to believe that it's 6 years later and the war is over opening up the opportunity for the Germans to learn crucial information about the imminent invasion of Normandy, also known as D-Day.

James Garner stars as Major Jefferson Pike. The US Navy has sent him to Lisbon, Portugal on an intelligence mission. However before he's able to execute his assignment, a German spy slips something into his coffee which knocks him out and he's taken prisoner. While he's unconscious a team of Nazis work to execute an elaborate plan that's been months in the making. Led by psychiatrist Major Walter Gerber (Rod Taylor), the team has studied Pike for months. Their plan is to make him think it's 1950 and he's recovering in an American Navy hospital. He's recruited fellow Germans who speak impeccable English to play Americans. Also part of his team is Anna Hedler (Eva Marie Saint), a concentration camp victim who spoke good English, was a trained nurse and saw this as an opportunity out of her situation. Anna plays his wife and nurse and Gerber plays a sympathetic American major and psychiatrist. A team of doctors perform plastic surgery on Pike to make him look like he's aged by 6 years. Gerber gets word from his higher ups that he only has 36 hours to finish his project and get important battle details out of Pike. His superior Otto Schack (Werner Peters) is visiting and anxious to interrogate the prisoner all the while doubting Gerber's plan. Will Pike figure out what's going on before he reveals too much?

Rod Taylor, James Garner and Eva Marie Saint in 36 Hours (1965)
Rod Taylor, James Garner and Eva Marie Saint in 36 Hours (1965)

36 Hours is based on an original story by writers Luis Vance and Carl K. Hittleman. However, Roald Dahl, popular writer and WWII veteran, had written a story in 1944 called Beware of the Dog that was very similar to Vance and Hittleman's story. Dahl's wife actress Patricia Neal was considering the part of Anna and noticed the similarities. In order to avoid a lawsuit, MGM bought the rights to Dahl's story and he received credit. Roald Dahl's biographer Jeremy Treglown confirms that Dahl was paid $30k for the film rights to Beware of the Dog. Most sources say the movie was adapted from Dahl's story but his is quite different. The two stories share in common the concept of tricking someone into think they are in a different place and time. I couldn't find any corroboration to this information other than IMDb. If you see any information please let me know because it makes for a very interesting back story!

James Garner's company Cherokee Productions co-produced 36 Hours along with William Perlberg and George Seaton. It was filmed on location in Yosemite National Park which was meant to represent the German countryside where Pike was isolated. I was delighted to see real footage of Lisbon, Portugal in the early 1960s. My father was from Portugal and I spent quite a bit of time visiting family there. At the time of filming my dad would have already been living in the US but it was still so fun to see my dad's country on film.

36 Hours is a taut war drama that kept me enthralled. I enjoyed the performances by the three leads James Garner, Eva Marie Saint and Rod Taylor. Saint's Anna is a very dark character. She's become numb because of her experiences in a concentration camp and is purely in survival mode. Saint is roughed up a bit in the movie and the plot line about her not being able to cry felt a bit over done. However I think her character was very interesting and it was great to see Saint in a role like this. Taylor's performance as Gerber was nuanced and brilliant. His character is probably the most complex of the bunch. Garner is great as Pike but I don't feel like the role was all that challenging for him. Pike is kind of a one-note character and he's confused when he comes to but I didn't quite believe it when he starts to realize what's going on. Garner is one of my favorite actors so it was still great to see him in this. And I also admire the fact that he was heavily involved behind the scenes too. I really enjoyed John Banner's performance as the Ernst. He plays an important character in the final part of the film. Describing his story line would be a major spoiler because he helps the plot come to its final conclusion.

I thoroughly enjoyed 36 Hours. I loved it's unusual story line and seeing a different take on WWII. The ending is predictable because it's based on real events but it's still so much fun to watch. Hat tip to writer Andy Ross who convinced me that I had to watch this one. You can check out his article on the movie here.

36 Hours (1965) is available on DVD-MOD and Blu-Ray from the Warner Archive Collection. It's also streaming on Warner Archive Instant. I watched the Blu-Ray version and highly recommend it.

Warner Archive Wednesday - On (random) Wednesdays, I review one title from the Warner Archive Collection. Thank you to Warner Archive for sending me a Blu-Ray copy of 36 Hours to review!

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