Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '56 - John Knight ""

Monday, November 14, 2016

Underrated '56 - John Knight

John Knight does not host a blog,but he is a regular contributor to The Hannibal-8, Laura's Miscellaneous Musings, Riding The High Country and Speakeasy as well.
As far as his attitude to cinema goes, he would best describe myself as a dedicated B Movie Junkie!
Check out his Underrated '55 and '45 lists from last year:
REBEL IN TOWN (Alfred L. Werker; 1956)
Dark,grim austere post Civil War Western. John Payne plays a stern ex Union officer who still hates all Rebels.When his young son is killed by one this leads to ironic,unexpected results.
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THE PROUD ONES (Robert D. Webb; 1956)
The always watchable Robert Ryan plays a sheriff with a lot on his plate-a town overrun with bad guys, a deputy with "issues" plus the fact his sight is failing. One if the most underrated of all Fifties Westerns.
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RAW EDGE (John Sherwood; 1956)
That fine actor Herbert Rudley having played the ultimate  sap-victim to a femme fatale; in the cult Noir DECOY now gets his revenge on womankind.Rudley turns 1840's Oregon into a medieval fiefdom whereby the first "unattached" female becomes the "property" of the first man to claim her. With lugs like Neville Brand,Emile Meyer and Robert Wilke slugging it out,no Western Gal ever had it so bad. As Albert Zugsmith productions go place this one  between TOUCH OF EVIL and SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE.

THE BOSS (Byron Haskin; 1956)
Dalton Trumbo's allegorical tale of corruption in "Anytown USA" Sadly the MGM MOD is in bad shape-this film needs a proper restoration. Strongly acted with a couple of great set pieces.
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SLIGHTLY SCARLET (Allan Dwan; 1956)
Two Worlds collide in this film. Firstly the World where gorgeous redheads lounge around in lavish apartments. Then we are thrown suddenly into the world of brutal thug Solly Caspar (Ted De Corsia) who likes to hold court over his minions in virtual darkness.Arlene Dahl is aces as an alcoholic, kleptomaniac, nymphomaniac.
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STRANGE INTRUDER (Irving Rapper; 1956)
Donald Murphy dying from extreme torture during the Korean War tells his buddy (Edmond Purdom) that he'd rather see his kids dead than in the custody of his wife's sleazebag lover (Jacques Bergerac). Purdom, now back in America; shell shocked and traumatized may just take his buddy at his word.Though not a total success the film deserves some credit for tackling difficult subject matter-infidelity and PTSD. Ida Lupino is superb as a lonely woman who has fallen for the wrong guy.

THE BLACK SLEEP (Reginald Le Borg; 1956)
This film has it's admirers and knockers but at least it's a game low budget ($250,000) attempt to revive Gothic Horror Universal also tried this in the early Fifties with THE BLACK CASTLE and THE STRANGE DOOR both pretty good. At least THE BLACK SLEEP kept us going until Hammer and Roger Corman showed us how it should be done. I would be VERY surprised if at least two other contributors do not choose this film as one of their Underrated '56 entries.
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Kristina said...

Very cool picks, John--I need to check out STRANGE INTRUDER and REBEL IN TOWN but like all the others, nice to see John Payne represented and THE BOSS is a good one. RAW EDGE was this close to making it on my list, nice to see it here. Cheers

Jerry Entract said...

Wow! Some great choices there, John! But then, I would have expected no less from you.

Three (!!! count 'em) John Payne films, a western each from Rory Calhoun and Robert Ryan - hard to go wrong. 1956 was a very good year at the movies, as your choices illustrate.

john k said...

Thanks Kristina and Jerry-I cannot wait to see your choices.
Yep! '56 was a great year and I reckon '57 was even better.
STRANGE INTRUDER goes into pretty dark and unsettling territory
and is certainly not for all tastes.
Lupino,as always, raises above the material and film is worth seeking
out for her performance alone.

Anonymous said...

Intriguing picks, as usual, John. The Boss and Strange Intruder are new ones for me but sound very worthwhile indeed.
I'm pleased to see Raw Edge included, a very strange film but deserving of a bit of attention, not least because of its strangeness. I'll be picking up the German Blu-ray when it comes out for sure.

john k said...

Thanks Colin,
I had a hard choice this time and would have loved to include
more '56 Universal programmer Westerns like STAR IN THE DUST and A DAY OF FURY.
The Koch Blu Ray of RAW EDGE should look great.
Speaking of Koch did you note that they have THE TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES
due on Blu Ray in February.
Looking forward to seeing RTHC back in action sooner,rather than later.

Laura said...

What a great list, John! Your description of the highly entertaining RAW EDGE cracked me up!

I really enjoyed THE PROUD ONES and SLIGHTLY SCARLET. Nice to see John Payne so well represented on this list.

Best wishes,

Silver Screenings said...

Thanks for introducing me to "The Proud Ones". I love Robert Ryan, especially in a western, and I'm looking forward to tracking this one down.

john k said...

Always good to hear from other John Payne fans-he's getting more & more
attention,thanks to the various blogs.
THE PROUD ONES in one of Robert Ryan's best Westerns,oddly enough according to imdb it was
originally going to star Gary Cooper and Guy Madison. If you have never seen it you are in
for a real treat.