Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 2500 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to MAKSQUIBS@yahoo.com . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

DIAL 1119 (1950)


Normally, hostage dramas are the last refuge of Hollywood scoundrels, but this little known gem from M-G-M is one tasty ‘B-pic.’ Marshall Thomson plays a catatonic baby-faced killer who’s on the lam from a mental hospital. He coldly kills a bus driver on his way in to town where he fails to find Sam Levene, his court-appointed shrink. He figures to wait it out at a nearby tavern where a motley group of life’s-losers are busy sipping the night away: the spinster on a fling with a chatty married man; an overdressed barfly downing martinis like peanuts; Chuckles, the grumpy barkeep & his jumpy assistant; and an ink-stained newspaperman. They’re all a bit soused, but nobody misses the report on the bar’s newfangled tv about the runaway mental case murderer. Within moments, a cop on the street is shot and someone in the bar lies dead. The hostage crisis is on. Cops, crowds, a tv news crew, even the missing shrink all show up and try to get in on the action. It’s twice-chewed material, but little-known helmer Gerald Mayer, who soon moved on to a long tv career, puts it together with verve and technical sass. The opening scenes are shot almost like a silent movie and he uses lenses and even film stocks with a real creative touch. And while the ending lets everyone off the hook, the use of, and commentary on the early days of tv is very cleverly handled. The acting may veer a bit toward Golden Age television, and Marshall Thompson doesn’t have the technical chops to handle his big apotheosis, but Sam Levene really comes thru as the psychiatrist while William Conrad is close to priceless as Chuckles.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: William Conrad, later known for CANNON on tv, is an absolute ringer for Jack Black in this. Jack! Look out!

1 comment:

VP81955 said...

Yeah, but let's hear Jack Black voice Marshal Dillon.