CINEMA: CRIME AND FILM NOIR
Today I saw a movie called “A Life At Stake (1954),” starring Angela Lansbury, Keith Andes, and Douglass Dumbrille. You may remember Angela for her long running TV mystery show called “Murder She Wrote (1984-1996).” On her show “Murder She Wrote,” she spent a lot of time solving murders; however, in this movie, she plotted to commit one. Unfortunately, just like Lindsey Wagner in “The Bionic Woman,” it was difficult seeing Angela in anything else but “Murder She Wrote (and even more so, her younger self). Keith is out on his luck, and the only money he has left to himself is a thousand dollar bill. He decides to go into real estate business with Angela and her husband being the investors. But little did Keith know, Angela was a con artist, along with her husband played by Douglass Dumbrille. Things got really complicated when Keith damn near has an affair with Angela. Douglass gets a special insurance policy as part of the investment (in the event of Keith’s untimely death). However, unbeknown to Kieth, both Angela and Douglass were planning to kill Keith shortly after the insurance deal was made. Of course the cops don’t believe a word he says, even when Keith told the police they spiked his coffee with something that almost got him killed. Will Keith be able to escape? This movie isn’t stellar (5.7 imdb rating), but it kept my interest. I do think you’ll like the ending tho. You’ll be surprised to see what happens. You can find this movie on YouTube. Remember you can use your Roku box to stream the movie to your TV. Happy viewing.
Lots and lots of big stars in this movie. We have the gorgeous Jim Brown, Diahann Carroll, Ernest Borgnine, Julie Harris, Gene Hackman, Jack Klugman, and so many others. Jim plays a guy who never had a steady job it seemed; I got the impression he has always been a career criminal based on the interaction between him and Diahann Carroll who played his wife. They had one of those off and on again relationships, and she could not really break away from him because she loved him (typical). In efforts to make up for the fact he doesn’t have any money to Carroll, he dreams up an elaborate scheme to hold up a football stadium for $80+ thousand dollars. He knows that he couldn’t do it alone, so he gets together Ernest, Julie, Gene, Jack, and a few others, to help him with this immense scheme. Jim and his crew were able to pull off the biggest heist of their time. BUT, there was an unexpected turn of events. Jim was supposed to guard the entire money, but unfortunately that money was stolen from Jim. Now the very crew he put together to steal the money, is now after him. Will Jim be able to get out of this jam he’s in? Will he be able to find the money before the police find out? Or even worse? This movie was very entertaining. There were some slow moments, but overall I felt he movie was worth watching. IMDB has a 6.0 rating, from 742 users; I think this is a pretty good score considering how many people rated it. Unfortunately, it is not available for rental, or on Hulu/Netflix. Amazon has it available as “pay to own,” which is $15 for standard definition. Take a look here.