Saturday, October 24, 2015

CAGE OF EVIL (1960)



One cannot assess lesser-known films fairly without understanding the era. This film could easily be dismissed as a cheap production simply because it is old and starring B-movie actors. While that is true in this case, I think this is better than most might give credit. In somewhat documentary style, it is told through the eyes of his superior, played by John Maxwell. He tells of the last assignment of a young, ambitious officer with a short future the department. Viewers can guess the outcome but cannot guess exactly how it unfolds. Maxwell’s high register, lackadaisical vocal narration is a better suited for a lighthearted travelogue film.



Though a tired premise and enough dull moments to attest for the low budget, Zenith Pictures pulls together a fairly plausible story. It’s a tidy script with enough suspense to keep you locked in. Ron Foster stars in another Robert Kent Production, again with co-star, Harp McGuire. Foster is competent in this role as an officer who feels he is being passed over for promotion. An officer with good intentions who goes afoul over Patricia Blair, girlfriend of a diamond thief. She is, shall we say, well known in the underworld. Foster is assigned to shadow her in order to gain her confidence. Blair is temptation personified and she holds the key to the cage in which they will soon find themselves in. The two fall into a scheme to remove her boyfriend's future and fly to Mexico with the stolen jewels. Where else. Around every deceitful turn, they plunge deeper into futility and the viewer will not be surprised by any of it. The film ends in a shootout as the couple climb higher up a stairway to nowhere.



The title film score does not fit this movie, sounding more like a light comedy which might include dance numbers. Paul Sawtell did fine work, but Dimitri Tiomkin is what you want here. Look for young, future TV stars, Ted Knight and Henry Darrow near the end.

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