Friday, September 11, 2015

THRILLER: Rose's Last Summer

Hosted by Boris Karloff
Guest Stars:  Mary Astor, Lin McCarthy, Jack Livesey, Dorothy Green, Hardie Albright
Directed by Arthur Hiller
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

After a former movie star dies mysteriously and her body is found by strangers, her friend and her ex-husband begin to look for answers.

A late-career showcase for Astor, best known for her role in The Maltese Falcon twenty years earlier, this episode at first seems routine with a too-obvious plot twist.  But as the story settles in and shifts from a mystery to a suspense thriller, it becomes exciting and leads up to a worthy climax, with Astor turning in an exceptional performance, abetted by some camera trickery and great work by makeup artist Jack Barron.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

THRILLER: The Mark Of The Hand

Hosted by Boris Karloff
Guest Stars:  Mona Freeman, Jessie Royce Landis, Shepperd Strudwick, Rachel Ames, Judson Pratt
Directed by Paul Henreid
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

After a gunshot rings out within a house, the murder victim is found dead on the floor along with a little girl holding the gun.

Although a fairly well-paced mystery, with more than a few parallels to "The Bad Seed," the shocking novel/play/movie about a murderous little girl, the story suffers from some plot holes that aren't adequately filled in at the climax.  There are still fine performances all around, particularly from Pratt in a familiar role as a police detective.  Director Henreid, better known for his acting role in the classic Casablanca, acquits himself well here, with a memorably staged sequence in which Shepperd is told something by Pratt in the background while Freeman in the foreground tries to guess.

Friday, September 4, 2015

THRILLER: Worse Than Murder

Hosted by Boris Karloff
Guest Stars:  Constance Ford, John Baragrey, Christine White, Harriet E. MacGibbon, Dan Tobin
Directed by Mitchell Leisen
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A manipulative golddigger, after discovering a secret in her dead uncle's diary, tries to blackmail his wealthy sister.

Actress Constance Ford gives a convincing performance as the money-grubbing woman who stops at nothing to gain the inheritance she believes she's been cheated out of in this installment, resorting to increasingly violent acts.  It makes for a compelling and entertaining hour, and it's a credit to Ford and director Leisen that they build her character's menace without going over the top.  A subplot featuring the handyman who rents Ford's character her apartment doesn't seem to go anywhere, but the rest of the script is pretty tight and well-constructed.