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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

36 HOURS / (aka) TERROR STREET (1953)

Something of a missed opportunity, an innocent-man-on-the-run pic with all the elements for a bargain-basement sub-Hitchcockian noir/thriller, but no follow thru. Dan Duryea (in as the British production’s contractual Hollywood ringer) plays a US army major gone AWOL on a surprise Trans-Atlantic visit to patch things up with his estranged wife. But, after a few clumsy flashbacks fill us in, he gets to her new apartment just in time to see the good lady rubbed out. Then, he's knocked out! Left to look like her killer with just 36 hours to clear himself; find the real gunman; and make it back to the plane . . . Whew! I’m exhausted just typing it up. Director Montgomery Tully grabs some nice, grubby London location shots & manages a few dynamic camera set-ups when he’s not flattening out action stuff, but too much of the plot & character development are full of holes. Duryea seems eager to get it over with, shouting his lines and not quite making eye-contact with a cast of British nonentities, as if asking who got him into this thing?

DOUBLE-BILL: Make it a 36 HOURS fest with George Seaton’s unrelated 1965 suspenser with James Garner’s WWII US Major tricked into giving up D-Day details to Rod Taylor’s Nazi Major.

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