Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '55 - John Knight ""

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Underrated '55 - 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."


TIGER BY THE TAIL (UK) John Gilling USA Title Cross-Up
Lisa Daniely enters into a relationship with Larry Parks-but on HER terms: their lives outside their relationship must remain secret to them both. When Parks betrays Daniely's terms his life goes into free-fall. A model Brit B Flick well directed by underrated John Gilling. Troubled, tragic actress Constance Smith is the "good girl" in this one.

TIMESLIP (UK) Ken Hughes USA Title The Atomic Man
Interesting mix of diverse plot elements here:
A scientist (Peter Arne) finds his mind has been transported several seconds into the future.On the case are wisecracking American journo (Gene Nelson) and his resourceful girlfriend (Faith Domergue). Also in the mix are veteran Nazis and sinister South American agents. Carry On's Charles Hawtrey plays a very cheeky "office boy".Would make a wonderful double bill with CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN.
Trivia Note: In Tarantino's much anticipated Western THE HATEFUL EIGHT Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a character called Daisy Domergue. Q.T. loves these homages and it's great that he remembers the queen of Fifties B's.

MAN WITH THE GUN (USA) Richard Wilson
Robert Mitchum is on blistering form as a "town tamer" with a troubled personal life.Luckily there are a host of bad guys for Mitchum to vent his frustration on. A bleak,stark,low budget gem-ripe for re-discovery. Great news that Kino Lorber are soon to release this terrific Western remastered in high-def widescreen on Blu-Ray.

HELL'S ISLAND (USA) Phil Karlson
The jury is still out on, if a film made in Technicolor (and Vista Vision) can still be classed as Film Noir. Certainly this film never reaches the heights of previous Phil Karlson/John Payne classic Noirs 99 RIVER STREET and KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL. Despite all this HELL'S ISLAND offers good entertainment and has a knockout performance from Mary Murphy as a duplicitous Femme Fatale to be reckoned with. Murphy-who never set out to become an actress was somewhat indifferent about her career.Having said that she certainly worked with some heavyweights: Bogart,Brando,Wyler,Losey.
Sadly HELL'S ISLAND is not available on DVD or Blu-Ray

DESERT SANDS (USA) Lesley Selander
The most ambitious (and largest budget) film from the Bel-Air fun factory. Bel-Air's second 1955 Ralph Meeker starrer (the other being the brutal,abrasive BIG HOUSE USA). Color,SuperScope and a most engaging cast:Meeker,Marla English,J Carrol Naish, Ron Randell,Keith Larsen,John Smith,John Carradine,Mort Mills. Hugely entertaining Foreign Legion romp,set in the present day (...well 1955!) with helicopters,and stuff. The cast do pretty well and I rather liked Aussie actor Ron Randell playing a British upper class twit. Second billed Marla English does not enter the picture until 45 minutes have passed. Marla certainly looks striking (in both senses of the word) as she hits Meeker across the face with her riding whip!
As yet not available on DVD; a Kino-Lorber Blu-Ray would be most welcome.


Jerry E said...

Great selection here, John! Some nice hard-to-find films. I am totally unfamiliar with "DESERT SANDS" and the first two listed, both British Bs with U.S. stars, I acquired only recently and have yet to watch. Even more intrigued to see them now!

As for "MAN WITH THE GUN", a little western that did not make much noise at the time but one I liked a lot when I saw it, some years ago now, and ripe for a re-view.

Anonymous said...

Super selection there. John, as expected. I fully agree with your choices of the two British films, not least because I think Gilling was a fine and underrated director too.
Man With the Gun is strong budget filmmaking with a great performance by Mitchum, and I'm very fond of Alex North's score on this one.
The Karlson and Selander titles are new to me but I'll be on the lookout for them.


john k said...

Thanks for your feedback Jerry and Colin.
I hope DESERT SANDS will surface at some point from Kino-Lorber as they
are going with great gusto releasing high-def editions of old United Artists
They have just announced a pretty obscure War Film BEACHEAD with a most interesting
cast:Tony Curtis,Frank Lovejoy,Mary Murphy and Skip Homier.
I do hope someone releases HELL'S ISLAND at some point,but as it's a Paramount
picture that may be problematic.
As we have spoken about many times before there are a whole raft of Paramount
titles,many with big budgets and starry casts that have never made it to DVD

Laura said...

John, this is a typically interesting list from you, you always come up with the most unique and intriguing titles! Of those you've listed I've only seen MAN WITH THE GUN, and I need to take a fresh look at is, as it's been several years.

You've got me wanting to pull out my copy of TIMESLIP and check it out soon! DESERT SANDS also particularly intrigues.

Per your note above, I enjoyed BEACHHEAD, glad to hear it's coming out on on DVD.

Best wishes,

john k said...

Hi Laura,

Please note that the UK version of TIMESLIP is the "complete" version,considerably
longer than the U.S. version THE ATOMIC MAN released by Allied Artists.
I forgot to mention that TIMESLIP is available (in widescreen) from Network in the

BEACHHEAD is already available on DVD; Kino Loeber will be releasing a remastered
Blu-Ray edition. I must admit the star quartet of Tony Curtis,Frank Lovejoy,
Mary Murphy and Skip Homier is most appealing to me.

Laura said...

Thanks for that added info on TIMESLIP, most interesting.

I was thinking I'd seen BEACHHEAD via streaming but per your note I think I must have Netflixed the DVD a few years back. Really enjoyed the cast.

Best wishes,

Silver Screenings said...

Wait a minute. How is it that "Atomic Man" has escaped my notice?! I'm adding that film to my Bucket List.