Horror movies


THE MONSTER AND THE GIRL. Paramount, 1941. Ellen Drew, Philip Terry, George Zucco and Rod Cameron. Written by Stuart Anthony. Directed by Stuart Heisler.

   A unique mix of True Confession, Gangster Film and Monster Movie, done with a patina of Paramount gloss — perhaps too much so.

   Ellen Drew starts off the story telling us how she was lured into a life of shame, and how her brother (Philip Terry) got framed for murder trying to redeem her honor. There’s a bit too much of this, including a lengthy flashback to wholesome brother-and-sister life back in Grover’s Corners or wherever, where he’s the Church Organist and she’s eager to go out and make it in the Big City.

   Eventually Ellen heads for the bright lights, and we get a bit more romantic drama as she meets a nice young man (Robert Paige), falls in love, and marries him. And about the time an astute viewer starts asking “Where the hell’s the monster?” there’s a nice bit where the kindly old man who marries them shows a shoulder holster.

   At which point we segue into Gangster Film territory. It seems this romance has all been part of elaborate and somewhat unlikely scheme to lure our Ellen into prostitution –only hinted at here, but very broadly hinted.

   Well we’ve all; had relationships like that, haven’t we? Anyhow, her brother Phillip Terry (remember him?) gets wind of the whole shameful thing, quits pounding the organ and comes after the rat who done her wrong.

   But he’s up against a cold deck because the gang here includes Paul Lukas, Joseph Calleia, Marc Lawrence and Gerald Mohr, and the astute viewer (remember him?) won’t be surprised to see them quickly rub out a gangland rival, callously pin the crime on Phil, and swiftly get him railroaded to the Chair by DA-for-hire Onslow Stevens.

   That’s when George Zucco comes on — and high time, too — as a benign (for him) Mad Doctor who wants to advance Science by transplanting a human brain into a gorilla. Okay, if that’s what the kids are doing these days, that’s fine. There’s a nice brain-transplant scene, and finally we get to the Monster Movie as the gorilla-with-Phil’s-brain escapes to wreak vengeance on the bad guys.

   Any Monster-Lover who has lasted this long should enjoy a last twenty minutes or so of creepy menace and building tension as the bad guys get their brutal comeuppance. To his credit, director Stuart Heisler gets a lot of visual interest out of the ape prowling about the city rooftops and fire escapes, and it never looks as silly as it should. Then too, George Barrows’ gorilla mask seems unusually expressive here, evincing sorrow, alarm and rage from appropriate camera angles.

   But basically what you get here is about a third of a monster movie, and a long wait for it. The Monster parts make satisfying viewing, but what it takes to get there…. Well maybe that’s why God gave us Fast-Forward.


WEREWOLF OF LONDON. Universal Pictures, 1935. Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson, Lester Matthews, Lawrence Grant, Spring Byington. Director: Stuart Walker.

   Warner Oland gives the overall rather dated Werewolf of London a welcome exotic, mystical flair that makes the otherwise somewhat staid film an enjoyable viewing experience. As the first mainstream werewolf movie ever produced by a major American studio, this Universal Pictures release is also notable for its makeup effects by Jack Pierce. A Hollywood legend in his own right, Pierce would go onto do similar work for the much better known (and better movie) The Wolf Man (1941) starring Lon Chaney, Jr.

   Henry Hull stars as the titular werewolf, a botanist named Wilfred Glendon. He has recently returned from an expedition in the Himalayas where he had a frightening encounter with a strange beast. That beast, as it turns out, was one Dr. Yogami (Oland), who himself is suffering from lycanthropy.

   Yogami arrives in London to tell Glendon that the botanist is about to turn into a werewolf and that a specific plant, one in the latter’s possession, can serve as an antidote. Glendon finds this preposterous, but he has his doubts. These are only strengthened when Glendon notices his hands are getting unusually hairy.

   As in The Wolf Man, which was released six years later, Werewolf of London is fundamentally a tragedy. Glendon’s story is a tragic one. His refusal to take seriously his condition, as well as his persistent neglect of his lovely wife Lisa (Valerie Hobson), lead him down a dark and foreboding path that includes murder and ultimately, his own tragic demise at the hands of a Scotland Yard inspector.

   But unlike Larry Talbot (Chaney) in The Wolf Man, who appeared as a character in several follow up feature films and became a Universal Monsters icon who is still beloved today, Wilfred Glendon was a character that appeared once and was never heard from again. That is unless there is a remake that could give some fresh life into this somewhat dated feature, something that would give it a little more of a bite for contemporary audiences. Now that’s an idea that would make some fans of classic fans howl at the moon!

Reviewed by JONATHAN LEWIS:         

THE HOUSE ON SKULL MOUNTAIN. 20th Century Fox, 1974. Victor French, Janee Michelle, Jean Durand, Mike Evans, Xernona Clayton, Lloyd Nelson, Ella Woods. Director: Ron Honthaner.

   Let me speak true from the outset. In no manner can The House on Skull Mountain, a low budget production filmed in Georgia, be considered a “good movie.” In terms of acting, direction, and plot development, this 1970s B-film falls short. It wouldn’t be completely unfair to call it a clichéd mess of a horror movie. There’s voodoo, racial politics, snakes, a zombie, and a gathering of people to are forced to spend the night in seemingly haunted house. There’s even a dark and stormy night. You get the picture.

   And yet I watched to the very end. Mainly because it’s not all that often that you find a horror movie with a nearly all African-American cast. But mostly because, despite everything I just told you, the movie is so clichéd and so over the top that it ends up being a delightfully guilty pleasure.

   One even gets the sense that at least one actor, namely Mike Evans (Lionel on the 1970s sitcom The Jeffersons) was in on the joke. For the movie is indisputably silly. Example: no one in the movie seems to ever mention that the house is on a mountain with a giant skull carved into it. Granted, it’s just a cartoonist matte painting. But whatever. It’s Skull Mountain and it’s got a house built on the very top. And voodoo is all around. Because of course it is. Just listen for the bongo drums.


HOUSE OF DARKNESS. International Motion Pictures, UK, 1948. George Melachrinos, Henry Oscar, Lesley Osmond, Alexander Archdale, John Teed, Grace Arnold, and introducing Lawrence Harvey. Written by John Gilling. Directed by Oswald Mitchell.

   A stylish little quota quickie that brought Lawrence (or Laurence) Harvey to the screen and established his persona for all time.

   Orchestra leader George Melachrinos, an arranger in the Mantovani/Kostelanetz mode, starts off the film relating a ghost story about visiting a haunted mansion, setting up a flashback to the lives of its last tenants, a family that make The Little Foxes look like the Brady Bunch.

   It seems sometime before the story started, stodgy eldest son John (Alexander Archdale) was left in control of an estate that younger half-brother Francis (Harvey) thinks should be his. And since John suffers from a weak heart while Francis has no heart at all, the writing — or more accurately the script — is on the wall for all to see, especially after John is out of the way and Harvey drives his other sibling off by convincing him that John’s Ghost walks the halls at night.

   No surprises here, but writer john Gilling (who went on to some fine horror flicks at Hammer) seems to have gauged Harvey’s screen persona perfectly (Brother John calls him “An insufferable, conceited cad,” which puts it very neatly) and written lines that only he could do this well. And when John’s ghost actually makes his return, it’s done with a creepy understatement that comes off very well indeed.

   House of Darkness doesn’t quite escape its quota quickie onus, but it works quite nicely as an effective ghost story and a showcase for an up-and-coming star who would have done better to stick to parts like this.

Reviewed by JONATHAN LEWIS:         

  OLD DRACULA. American International Pictures, US, 1975. Originally released in the UK by Columbia-Warner Distributors, 1975, as Vampira. David Niven (Count Dracula), Teresa Graves (Countess Vampira), Peter Bayliss, Jennie Linden, Nicky Henson, Linda Hayden. Director: Clive Donner.

   The esteemed English actor David Niven, whose film career spanned over four decades, starred in many notable films including The Moon is Blue (1953), Carrington V.C. (1955), My Man Godfrey (1957), and Separate Tables (1958), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor. In the latter stage of his career, Niven was perhaps best known for his appearance in two of the Pink Panther films.

   Then there’s Clive Donner’s oddball horror-comedy Vampira, aka Old Dracula, a spoof of vampire films mixed with a swinging sixties sensibility and a hint of Blaxploitation.

   While it’s not an overly memorable production, the movie benefits greatly from Niven’s fang-in-cheek portrayal of an aging Count Dracula. Ensconced in his Transylvanian castle, Dracula (Niven) is relegated to having his dimwitted assistant (Peter Bayliss) operate his home as a campy tourist attraction.

   When a bevvy of Playboy Playmates show up for a night at Dracula’s castle, Dracula sees it an opportunity to steal some blood from the young girls. Not that he wants to drink it. No. He wants some youthful blood that he can transfer into the body of his beloved dead wife, Vampira so that he can bring her back to undead life.

   Problem is, he mixes the blood of the different bunnies and well … one of them is Black. Lo and behold, he is able to resurrect Vampira. But she comes back as a Black woman (Teresa Graves). There’s some truly funny racial humor here, such as when Vampira ends up going to see a screening of a Jim Brown movie in London, or when Dracula says he’s afraid to go out at night with her (what would society think). What doesn’t work is a scene in which Niven appears in blackface.

   Movie fans might appreciate two other aspects to the film. Titled as Vampira in the United Kingdom, it was released by American International in the United States as Old Dracula to capitalize on the success of Mel Brooks’ much better film, Young Frankenstein (1974). That it didn’t have nearly the same cultural impact tells you that a title can only do so much.

   Also of note, some viewers will undoubtedly love the fact that Nicky Henson, whose starring role in Don Sharp’s Psychomania (1973), a exploitation movie about a gang of Satanic bikers made him an icon of cult horror film fans everywhere, has a pivotal role in Old Dracula. Which leads me to my final thought. Which is that in many ways, the actors in this production are much better than the script.


DEVILS OF DARKNESS. Planet Films, UK, 1965. 20th Century Fox, US, 1965. William Sylvester, Hubert Noel, Carole Gray, Tracy Reed, Diana Decker, Peter Iling, Eddie Byrne, Geoffrey Kenson, Rod McLennon. Screenplay: Lyn Fairhurst. Director: Lance Comfort.

   Devils of Darkness is a much better suspense film than horror film, a function of the supernatural thriller, which is what I would label this rather than horror. There is very little suspense in most horror, because we know the gruesome ending. Even if the heroes win, it will be short term and at too high a price. Supernatural thrillers, a form practiced by Dennis Wheatley, Sax Rohmer and Russell Kirk, tend to take a more optimistic view of the clash with evil.

   Paul Baxter (William Sylvester) is a writer on holiday whose car breaks down near a small hotel in an isolated village in Brittany. We already know something is up thanks to a prequel in which in the 16th century a vampire (Hubert Noel) escapes from his tomb and claims a Gypsy bride, Tania (Carole Gray), on her wedding day.

   We also know it because the owner of the hotel and the local police inspector are none too happy to see Baxter there. Sinister whispering in the bushes and concerned looks abound.

   Baxter befriends two women, one of whom, Madeline (Diane Decker) an antiques buyer and expert on the place, is leaving, but suggests Baxter and the other girl stay for the ritual the locals put on every year; a sort of local Day of the Dead. Since the girl’s brother has gone spelunking with a friend, they attend, only to have a Gypsy woman warn them the girl is marked for “the Black Death.”

   At the ceremony, they discover the girl’s brother and companion died in a rock fall (we know better), and meet the mysterious Armand de Bouvier (the vampire from earlier) and his wife — Tania.

   In short order Baxter runs afoul of the obtuse local policeman, and the sister disappears. When she shows up drowned, it seems a tragedy followed by suicide, but Baxter isn’t buying that. For one thing, he saw bite marks on the brother’s body, and for another the sister was too determined to find out how her brother died to commit suicide.

   Before he goes home Baxter finds and takes a talisman, a snake entwined with a bat, with him little knowing it is the key to the satanic cult practicing in the village and priceless to de Bouvier, who is really the immortal Satanist Count Sinistre.

   Back in London Baxter arranges for the three bodies to be brought back to England as he explains to Madeline, who can’t believe him, about the strange marks and why he wants an English autopsy. But when the bodies are stolen, and a scientist he enlisted to help, Professor Kelsey (Eddie Byrne), dies suddenly and unexpectedly, Baxter turns detective.

   Meanwhile even a sleuth needs downtime, and at a swinging party in Chelsea Baxter meets Madeline’s latest discovery, the beautiful Karen (Tracy Reed). He falls instantly, but so does Count Sinistre, who plans to use Karen to get the talisman back from Baxter before he kills them both.

   But our Satanic leader is only human, however inhuman, and is falling for Karen, something all too obvious to Tania, who sees she is about the be replaced as her master’s concubine. It all wraps up rather neatly, and pleasingly enough that you shouldn’t ask too many inconvenient questions (like the police buying all this in the first place).

   Devils of Darkness is no Hammer film. The heaving bosoms are kept to a minimum with only a bit here and there, the atmosphere is done on the cheap with the bats no better than those in the 1931 version of Dracula, the lighting is too good, and there is little imaginative use of shadow. While Noel is handsome and hypnotic, he is far too slight a man and an actor to suggest the old-World Mesmerism of Lugosi or the lustful vitality of Lee. He is capable and a good enough actor, but he lacks presence.

   The acting is overall good, nothing notable, but certainly competent. That said, I would give the film a positive rating as a good example of a supernatural thriller and because director Lance Comfort, whose career includes The Courageous Mr. Penn, Hotel Reserve, Bedalia, and Daughter of Darkness, still knew how to helm a picture even on his last film.

   I suspect this didn’t do all that well in theaters or with critics and would not be surprised to learn it has a bad reputation simply because it isn’t a Hammer-style fang-baring bosom-heaving Gothic extravaganza, but more a thriller of the kind made in the thirties and forties.

   It must have seemed all too tame for the time with its middle-aged hero and rather wan vampire, but it comes across much better on television. The women are pretty, the sets don’t fall, save on cue, the acting is competent, and it makes an effort not to be stupid, which is already far ahead of most of its contemporaries.


THE MAD DOCTOR OF MARKET STREET. Universal, 1942. Lionel Atwill, Una Merkel, Claire Dodd, Nat Pendleton, Richard Davies, Noble Johnson, Ray Mala. Produced by Paul Malvern. Written by Al Martin. Directed by Joseph H. Lewis.

   The good news is that this predestined 2nd-feature was done by people who knew their way around cheap movies. Producer Paul Malvern started out at Monogram with Duke Wayne’s Lone Star series, and went on to memorable kitsch like House of Dracula (far from the best in the series, but showing fine use of stock footage and contract players).

   Writer Al Martin’s resumé is less distinguished, but director Joseph H. Lewis (who would go on to Gun Crazy and beyond) had lavished bizarre camera angles and punchy editing on low-budget movies for half a decade by the time this trifle fell onto his plate.

   And then there’s the cast: Lionel Atwill at his supercilious best; Una Merkel ditzy as ever; Nat Pendleton clueless as always, and Noble Johnson playing a nasty Native Chief as one to the manner born. The only downside is that the film itself isn’t much good.

   That is to say, I enjoyed it, and you might too, but there are definitely some Quality Control issues here. For one thing, there’s no Monster in this purported Horror Film, and that’s always a bit of a let-down for those of us who used to stay up late watching “Shock Theater” or the local equivalent thereof – indeed it was not until my later years, with mature critical sensibilities, that I learned to appreciate this work on its own terms, such as they are.

   For another thing, Merkel and Pendleton are fine comedy performers, but they don’t have a funny line between them. And finally, the story tends to meander a bit, starting with a bit of Mad Doctoring in Frisco, then the hunt for a fugitive killer aboard a luxury liner, a little dab of shipwreck, and then some testy diplomacy with Island Natives who evince a taste for human sacrifice.

   Well. it certainly moves around a lot, and like I say, Mad Doctor of Market Street carries this nonsense with a certain amount of style. There’s a particularly fine second or two toward the end, when Lewis’ camera pans in on Atwill’s terrified expression as he realizes the jig is up, a perfect confluence of fine acting and skillful direction. And if it seems wasted on a dumb picture like this, well, like I say: It’s still fun.

Reviewed by JONATHAN LEWIS:         

HOUSE OF WAX. Warner Brothers, 2005. Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki, Jon Abrahams, Robert Ri’chard, Dragitsa Debert. Director: Jaume Collet-Serra.

   For a movie that has more than its share of borderline amateurish acting, a plot with holes you could drive through, and characters that are essentially horror movie archetypes come to proverbial life, House of Wax is nevertheless a thoroughly entertaining, if absurd, thrill ride.

   Under Jaume Collet-Serra’s skillful direction, this occasionally graphically violent horror movie retains an atmospheric sense of impending doom, dread, and sheer creepiness. Top notch production design, along with the movie’s implicit inter-textual references to past horror films, makes it one of the more unusual horror movies I’ve seen in a while. That’s not to say it’s an excellent movie. It’s not. But it’s at least trying to do something different, and, in a world where so many contemporary horror films feel the same, House of Wax stands out from the pack.

   The plot. You’ve surely seen this before: a group of college students on a road trip find themselves stranded in a rural area. Soon enough, they realize that they’re trapped in a sparsely populated area and that there’s a serial killer hunting them. What you haven’t seen before are the two primary villains who are the movie’s antagonists. They’re not quite like anything I’ve seen in a horror movie apart from maybe Chuck Conner’s character in the 1977 cult classic Tourist Trap (reviewed here ).

   Two twin brothers, one of whom wears a wax mask covering his disfigured face, run a wax museum in an abandoned small town somewhere in the Deep South. It comes as no surprise that the wax figures are or, better yet, were once human. Somehow – it’s never explained – these maniacs have been able to hole up in a small town that law enforcement doesn’t even know exists. Make of that what you will.

   You also have the final girl trope – because of course. The attractive, feisty college student who defeats the monster here is Carly Jones (Elisha Cuthbert who many will recognize from her portrayal of Jack Bauer’s daughter on 24) who, along with her twin brother Nick (Chad Michael Murray), defeats the monsters. Their friends are not so lucky. But make no mistake about it. You want to root for Carly all the way. And she lives up to your hopes.


NIGHT OF THE DEMON. Columbia Pictures, UK, 1957. Columbia Pictures, US, 1958; released as Curse of the Demon and shortened by 13 minutes. Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis, Maurice Denham, Athene Seyler. Based on the story “Casting the Runes” by M. R. James. Cinematography by Edward Scaife. Director: Jacques Tourneur.

   The plot may be hopelessly incoherent, but the photography is amazing. Now, amazing isn’t usually a word that I would use when discussing cinematography. But it fits. With director Jacques Tourneur (Cat People, Out of the Past) at the helm and cinematographer Ted Scaife (Khartoum, The Dirty Dozen) behind the camera, Night of the Demon is elevated from what would have been a mediocre B- horror movie into a visually stunning work of horror cinema, albeit one that is not well served by its, confusing and disjointed story line.

   Psychologist and professional skeptic Dr. John Holden (Dana Andrews) arrives in England for an academic conference wherein he hopes to disprove the existence of the supernatural and the theories of occult leader Dr. Julian Karswell (Niall MacGinnis). Unfortunately, just prior to Holden’s arrival, the viewer learns that the world of black magic is all-too-real — at least in this movie.

   Rather than hinting at the possibility of the occult, or teasing the audience a bit, the filmmakers behind Night of the Demon evidently decided to show the audience the fire monster within the first ten minutes of the movie. The problem with this, of course, is that it takes away a great deal of suspense and makes Holden’s incessant arguments with his late colleague’s niece, Joanna (Peggy Cummins), about why witchcraft is all just a bunch of hokum even more tedious. And believe me, it’s not merely once or twice than Holden segues into a monologue why he is not superstitious.

   But lest you think I didn’t enjoy the movie at all, I assure you that, in many ways I did. There’s something cinematically magical about black-and-white horror movies like Night of the Demon. It’s in the way in which they create a whole universe all its own. An off-kilter world, a land of shadows and madness, the England that Dr. Holden finds himself in is a land that harks back to its pre-Christian past.

   England may be modern, but there’s an Anglo-Saxon past just underneath the surface. After all, the people who wrote cryptic manuscripts in runes had their own ways of thinking well before scientists like our protagonist Dr. Holden came along.

by Dan Stumpf

  RASPUTIN. (Dial Press, 1927) by Felix Yusupov.

  RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS MGM, 1932. John, Ethel and Lionel Barrymore, Ralph Morgan, Diana Wynyard and Edward Arnold. Written by Charles MacArthur. Directed by Richard Boleslavsky.

  THE NIGHT THEY KILLED RASPUTIN. Cino Del Duca, 1960. Also released as Nights of Rasputin. Edmond Purdom, Gianna Maria Canale and John Drew Barrymore. Written and directed by Pierre Chenal.

  RASPUTIN: THE MAD MONK. Hammer, 1966. Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley and Richard Pascoe. Written by Anthony Hinds (as “John Elder”.) Directed by Don Sharp.

  RASPUTIN IN HOLLYWOOD (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990) by Sir David Napley.

   Prince Felix Yusupov’s RASPUTIN (Dial Press, 1927) is something of a rarity: a biography written by the assassin of its subject. Indeed, the only antecedent I can recall is Pat Garrett’s AUTHENTIC LIFE OF BILLY THE KID, which was largely ghost-written. This may have been ghosted too, for all I know, but it reads with the self-serving simplicity of One Who Was There.

   Maybe some faint controversy still sputters over The Mad Monk, but there’s no denying his role as the 20th century equivalent of the Queen’s Necklace: the catalyst in the fall of a (tottering) monarchy that ushered in a whole new age — and did it with a tawdry stylishness that has all the elements (according to the old joke) of a great novel: Religion, Royalty, Sex and Mystery. No wonder he’s been the subject of a dozen books and movies.

   But this book, as I say, was written by the guy who killed him, and it has its moments. The background on Rasputin is sketchy and one-sided as one expects, but it’s interesting to read Prince Felix, writing ten years after the Russian Revolution, anticipating the imminent fall of the Communist government.

   His take on the Great War and the chaos of Imperial Russian politics is also fascinating, but the book really comes to life when Yusupov gets to his own encounters with Rasputin, and his growing resolve to kill him, then the bloody deed and its aftermath. These chapters have all the impact of a really fine crime story, and if it’s not told with quite the edgy panache of Charles Williams or Jim Thompson, it’s still a fine, riveting read and a fascinating reflection of an age gone by.

   The whole affair was done up with suitable splendor by MGM in 1932; RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS offers a stellar cast, crowds of extras, sumptuous sets and appropriate disregard for history. John Barrymore looks a bit ticked off at not getting to play Rasputin (his brother Lionel gets that plum part), but he puts commensurate enthusiasm into the scene where he poisons, shoots, clubs and drowns his sibling, and the rest of the cast handles things with equal enthusiasm.

   There is some interest in seeing Barrymore Jr in THE NIGHT THEY KILLED RASPUTIN essay the part his daddy had, but that’s the sole attraction of this effort, at least as released here in the US. It may have been more appealing in color, but it showed up here in badly-dubbed B&W. Hence. I cannot fairly judge the acting except to say it sounds like they had two or three voice-over artists doing all the parts, and it ends so abruptly I suspect someone just lost interest. I know I did.

   RASPUTIN: THE MAD MONK is rather more spirited but somewhat misses the high-water mark set by Hammer Studios at their best. Blame the by-the-numbers direction by Don Sharp, a confirmed second-stringer, or the penurious production from Hammer, who did this back-to-back with DRACULA, PRINCE OF DARKNESS, using the same sets and much of the cast. There’s a spirited performance from Christopher Lee, relishing a bravura speaking part for a change, but everyone else seems to act like they’re wasted in Nothing Parts — which they pretty much are.

   And then there’s the book RASPUTIN IN HOLLYWOOD, by noted British author/solicitor Sir David Napley, dealing primarily with the lawsuit Prince and Princess Yusupov brought in British courts against MGM for suggesting in their movie that the princess had an improper encounter with the mad monk.

   This is hardly the stuff of gripping drama, but Napley handles it (mostly) well. There’s some enjoyably concise background on the principals in the story: I never knew the Prince did a drag act in nightclubs, and he was about the least likely person to pick for the job of assassinating a bear of a man like Rasputin; in point of fact, the monk was finished off by others in the plot.

   Be that as it may, the Yusupovs escaped the Bolsheviks, spent all their money, and when the MGM film came out, either gasped in horror at seeing the princess’ name besmirched, or licked their chops seeing the chance for more lucre. Take your pick. Napley remains impartial as he goes on to describe the trial in detail, telling us about the opposing strategies, explaining the strengths and weaknesses and all the hits, runs and errors in a very expensive game.

   It ain’t exactly ANATOMY OF A MURDER, but he keeps it interesting and fun—which is more than I can say for some of those movies.

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