By Marcus Pan
Hitchcock fans take note. This 1952 black
and white noir thriller, given a recent facelift this year by noir rescuers
Dark Sky, will thrill any old style mystery and slasher fan. From
Levy-Gardner-Laven Productions, story and screenplay by Bill Raynor and
directed by Arnold Laven, its a very good foray into old style mysteries
and murder thrillers.
Killer Carl Martin, played by Adam Williams (North by
Northwest) is a clean cut gardener who finds other more eccentric uses for his
gardening scissors. After two murders the police's only leads are unmatched
fingerprints, knowledge of the weapon being "scissors of some type" and a piece
of a blue suit, the police frantically scramble to find this serial murderer
with a hankering for pretty blondes and an unknown motivation.
While the police, featuring a detective played by Ed Binns
(12 Angry Men), canvas the laundry and clothing repair shops waiting for the
blue suit to turn up in need of mending, Carl Martin goes about his everyday
business as a gardener while drawing the local garden shop owner's daughter
(Meg Randall), who fits the bill under the pretty blonde category, into his
trap of shearing madness.
Without success there, at least at the outset, Carl takes to
the bars to find another of his blondes and the police nearly pick him up at
the scene of a third murder. The following foot chase and cab jumps to throw
the police off his tail serves for a little while, with the noose of the law
now starting to draw closer around our gardening madman. A string of blonde
beauties with detective backups is put out on the street in an effort to snare
Carl, brilliantly using a habitual nuance of his to track down the right man.
It was a piece of the murder weapon his gardening shears and a
bit of excellent police work that bring Carl Martin to justice as the serial
Fans of CSI and other crime scene investigation style motion
pictures would also find a lot to enjoy here, as the police explore the crime
and seek to solve the murders using top of the line investigation methods of
the 1950s. It will give you a great look at the investigation and police work
efforts of the time.
I enjoyed this film, and without Dark Sky to pick it up and
save it from a silent death in the back rooms with black & white master
tapes of its time, it would have never reached me...or you. Hitchcock fans will
enjoy the film for its charm and suspense and mystery buffs will enjoy this
film for its old school step by step clue tracking. If you've watched The
Birds or Psycho one too many times and need something new (old?) of
this style, drop by www.darkskyfilms.com and pick up Without Warning for
some original thrills.
Dark Sky Films
Post: MPI Media Group, 16101 S 108th Ave., Orland Park, IL, 60467,
Click to Buy!