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Blind Date aka Chance Meeting [DVD] 
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Murder mystery from director Josef Losey. When Dutch artist Jan Van Rooyen (Hardy Kruger) is discovered in a cottage with a murdered woman, it seems a cut and dried case for Inspector Morgan (Stanley Baker). Although Van Rooyen soon admits to having an affair with the dead women, who he believed to be married, Morgan's discovery that she was not only single but involved with a high-level diplomat, leads him to dig deeper.
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Kruger plays a struggling artist who finds himself accused of murder when he arrives at his lover’s flat seemingly minutes after she’s been killed; a simplistic plot in which Baker’s persistent (and not especially pleasant) Detective Inspector questions Kruger about his past with the dead woman is strung out well past its deserved length by a very repetitive script and several fraught flashback scenes in which Kruger’s relationship with Presle’s ‘woman of mystery’ is sketched in, before a coincidence-charged ending sees everything tied together neatly, if not completely logically given what we’ve seen.
Baker and Kruger certainly fit the bill in their parts and they are backed up by a clutch of entertaining (if theatrical) supporting performances from the likes of Robert Flemyng and Jack MacGowran. The script clearly has a bit of a weed up its arse about the exploitation of the lower orders by those in power, exemplified by both Kruger’s plight and the situation Baker finds himself in when contending with his upper class colleagues Flemyng and John Van Eyssen, which adds a little depth to the piece; but the twist in the tale is perfunctory in the extreme, Presle cuts a figure so hateful and vapid it scuppers the idea Kruger could be dippy over her and the musical score is both intrusive and inappropriate (just like the one in Losey’s similarly overwrought 1957 thriller Time Without Pity). Whilst, artistically, this is probably a grade above the usual kind of British B-movie released by Renown, it’s not really a ‘fun’ watch, unlike a lot of the old crap they’ve issued on DVD. Of interest only to fans of Baker and Losey really.
Jan Van Rooyer (Krüger) arrives at the apartment of the lady he is having an affair with, only to find the police following him close behind. It appears that the lady, Jacqueline Cousteau (Presle), has been murdered and he is the prime suspect.
Another cracker-jack slice of British film noir produced by the brilliant Joseph Losey. Blind Date finds Losey on the sort of firm ground he thrives on, examining hot topics such as class consciousness, eroticism, political pot-boiling, corruption, misogyny and at the crux of the story there's a very intricate mystery to be solved. When Losey was at his best there was an edginess to his films, and this is no exception, the construction of the tale is akin to someone dangling a piece of red meat over a Lion's cage (or in this case a Cougar), only to keep pulling it away at the last second.
Hook - Line - Sinker.
It all begins in a jovial manner, Van Rooyer is so happy, skipping his way to his lover's apartment, the jazzy musical score soars and shrieks, then the tone changes considerably, Losey and his crew have offered a false dawn. It soon becomes apparent that Rooyer is something of an arrogant snot, a struggling and tortured painter, he's hard to empathise with as he gets leaned on first by Gordon Jackson's efficient copper, then the mighty presence of Stanley Baker as Inspector Morgan - with Welsh accent joyously in full effect, he's nursing a cold and drinking milk, but boyo this is a guy you don't want grilling you...
Rest of the picture is predominantly told in flashback, how Rooyer and Cousteau came to meet, their initial sparring and eventual relationship, with the mature femme fatale lady wrapping the hapless painter around her finger. Losey sexes things up, really gets as much heat as he can into the coupling without bothering the censors, he even slots in a sex metaphor that Hitchcock would have approved of. Then the rug pulls begin, the can is opened, worms everywhere, or is it just smoke and mirrors?
Losey and Challis use every opportunity to use trusted film noir photographic techniques, but never in a lazy manner. Some of the isolated lighting used - particularly when Presle is holding court - is cheeky but potent with it, and the close ups, long takes and wide frames favoured by Losey ensure that no scene is merely being allowed to be ordinary. Baker, like Dirk Bogarde, was a classic Losey man, a meeting of minds that produced performances of steel and psychological intricacy. Yet it's not Baker who owns this film, it's Krüger, a multifaceted jumping-bean of a performance, simply terrific. As is the film itself, one of Losey's most under valued British treasures. 9/10
as in a few of losey's films, the plot in "blind date" is a bit dis-jointed as the flashback scene goes on for too long and the pace is often slow and awkward.
hardy kruger is o.k in the lead as the prime suspect but it is stanley baker as the hard-boiled police inspector who is the one to watch. his performance keeps the film going, especially in the latter stages when baker realises that not all is what it seems as the case unravels. the last 20 minutes or more are the best part of the film in my opinion.
"blind date" is mainly worth buying if you are a big fan of stanley baker like me.
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