Thursday, June 21, 2012
Scenes from "No Orchids For Miss Blandish" (1948) by St. John Legh Clowes
The opening, highly cinematic sequence of the British Noir "No Orchids For Miss Blandish" (1948) by St. John Legh Clowes from a novel by James Hadley Chase.
Controversial at the time of the film's initial release in Britain and the United States for its violence and sexual frankness, the movie was uneven--especially when some hapless English actors tried to speak with American accents and use American slang.
However, the film was beautifully photographed by Gerald Gibbs and heightened (at times melodramatically) by the lush score by George Melachrino, with a performance by American character actor Jack LaRue that was highly romantic (and clearly influenced by Humphrey Bogart). LaRue's career was blighted by his decision to appear in one of the most controversial films of the 1930s, a film version of William Faulkner's potboiler, The Story of Temple Drake (1933), which was far more harrowing as a story of depraved desire than Miss Blandish ever dreamed. Despite this, LaRue was a good actor, with a soulfulness and warmth that was only briefly glimpsed, if at all, in his many smaller roles as bad guys in over sixty movies. This is his best film and one that now seems almost ludicrously trying to break every taboo in one movie.