Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Thrillers - John Knight ""

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Underrated Thrillers - John Knight

About John Knight:
"From a North London working class background and a genuine Muswell Hillbilly by birth, Rod Stewart lived across the road from me and Ray Davies and I used to loan each other records. He turned me on to Chet Atkins and I turned him on to The Ventures. Always been a life-long film fan and when I met Cineaste and later screenwriter
Chris Wicking in the early Sixties he turned me onto lots of interesting films and directors. It's been a lifelong search and I'm still learning at the age of 68,
still so many great people yet to discover.....I am talking vintage films here."

Also check out John's Underrated Action/Adventure list:

LET 'EM HAVE IT (1935) Sam Wood
Richard Arlen, Bruce Cabot, Virginia Bruce.
Borderline psycho Cabot and his crew are always one step ahead of Arlen's stalwart team of G-Men.In one chilling scene film dips into the  realm of classic horror.This scene details a doomed plastic surgeon's grisly revenge and recalls Tod Browning in his prime.

SHOW THEM NO MERCY! (1935) George Marshall
Rochelle Hudson, Cesar Romero, Bruce Cabot, Edward Norris.
Yet another gun-blasting;bullet-sprayed crime thriller from the G-Man era. Innocent young couple (Hudson,Norris) stumble upon the "old dark house" hideout of ruthless gangsters Romero and Cabot. Film is far tougher than what we are used to from George Marshall
and it's strikingly shot by Bert Glennon. Remade many years later in a Western setting (RAWHIDE 1951).

William Hartnell, Robert Beatty, Herbert Lom, Alan Wheatley.
Brit Noir icon Hartnell is aces as a ruthless career criminal. Like many Brit Flicks of the era this one is subversive and darkly comic. Very daring for it's time we are left in no doubt that Herbert Lom and Alan Wheatley are in a Gay relationship. The supremely creepy Ivor Barnard plays a character named Jonah Crackle. Jonah,a printer by trade supplies an attractive range of "extra services" for his underworld clientele. These include extracting information from hapless victims and then making sure that they vanish without trace. Jonah is very business-like....he always insists on "cash with order"

HIGHWAY 301 (1950) Andrew L. Stone
Steve Cochran, Gaby Andre, Virginia Grey, Wally Cassell, Robert Webber, Richard Egan, Edward Norris. 
You know that a gang is doomed when it's lead by brutal,thuggish Cochran and nervy,edgy Cassell.Director Stone cuts the audience no slack in this one, it's constantly tense and fast moving.Good showcase for the criminally  underrated Virginia Grey.

THE GOOD DIE YOUNG (1954) Lewis Gilbert 
Laurence Harvey,Gloria Grahame,Richard Basehart,John Ireland, Stanley Baker, Margaret Leighton,Joan Collins.
Decadent,totally amoral playboy Harvey hooks up with a trio of losers and takes them on a one way journey down the Lost Highway. Powerhouse cast and great direction make this one a winner all the way.Scene where Harvey's father (Robert Morley,never better) disowns his worthless son is devastating.


Jerry E said...

Terrific selection here, John! These are truly under-rated films and pretty rare.

I have never seen "APPOINTMENT WITH CRIME" OR "HIGHWAY 301" but these are both films I really, really want to see. All the more after your reviews.

"THE GOOD DIE YOUNG" is a personal favourite of mine that I have recommended to others. It never lets up and sports a terrific cast.

Only saw "LET 'EM HAVE IT" once, many years ago, and it has to be another I should seek out somehow.

Great choices!

Anonymous said...

I've got both Highway 301 and The Good Die Young, but haven't actually watched either yet.
The others sound fascinating and I've made a note to look out for them. Lists like this, with titles that are unfamiliar to me, are very welcome, John.


Laura said...

Hi John,

What a great list! I'm especially interested in SHOW THEM NO MERCY since I'm a fan of the remake RAWHIDE.

As I've mentioned, I have the Warner Archive DVD or HIGHWAY 301 but like Colin I just haven't seen it yet!

You keep giving me longer lists of movies to check out! :)

Best wishes,

john k said...

Jerry and Colin,
Thanks so much for the kind words,and Jerry special thanks
for drawing Laura's attention to this over at her blog.

I know we have discussed "kids in peril" in movies
several times;SHOW THEM NO MERCY! like RAWHIDE features a
"baby in peril"
Mother, Rochelle Hudson ain't having none of it,film features
a graphic burst of violence at the end that's unforgettable!

The Fox MOD of this film is pretty decent,and it's a really
tough little movie.