DVD Review

“Without Warning”

By Marcus Pan

Without WarningHitchcock 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, it’s 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 murderer.

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.

Contact Information:
Dark Sky Films
Post: MPI Media Group, 16101 S 108th Ave., Orland Park, IL, 60467, USA

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