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Hammer Film Noir 1 [DVD] [1953] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Video Communications Inc.
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,558 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 May 2012
Format: DVD
J. A. Pearson's Bookstore: Home to blackmail, secret passions and murder.

The Last Page (AKA: Man Bait) is directed by Terence Fisher and adapted to screenplay by Frederick Knott from James Hadley Chase's story. It stars George Brent, Marguerite Chapman, Raymond Huntley, Peter Reynolds and Diana Dors. Music is by Frank Spencer and cinematography by Walter J. Harvey.

John Harman (Brent) is a London bookshop manager who finds himself blackmailed by his busty young assistant, Ruby Bruce (Dors), and her new ex-convict beau Jeffrey Hart (Reynolds), when he foolishly steals in for a kiss during after hours stock taking.

Bookshop Noir.

British Hammer and American Exclusive teamed up to produce a number of low budget crime dramas in the early 1950s, often using American stars and directors blended in with British actors, they were produced in Britain in next to no time. The Last Page is a safe viewing for the undemanding film noir fan. Terence Fisher would become a legend amongst British horror fans (rightly so) for his work on Hammer's reinvention of the Universal Creature Features. Here he crafts a nifty atmospheric melodrama without fuss or filler, while just about managing to stop the flaws and daftness of plotting from sinking the picture.

Story has some interesting noirish characters and themes. The man who begins to pay for a moment of weakness, the young shapely gal in over head-lured to the dark half by a well spoken criminal element, while some secret passions amongst the staff of this particular bookstore come to the fore once things inevitably go pear shaped. The setting is a doozy as well, this bookstore is perfectly antiquated, so much so you can smell the leather bound novels nestling on the shelves.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Payton...Brent...Dors...Le Borg...Fisher ~ Hammer & VCI Film Noir (1950's)" 24 Aug. 2006
By J. Lovins - Published on
Format: DVD
VCI Entertainment and Kit Parker Films present "Hammer Film Noir Vol. 1" (1952) --- (Dolby digitally remastered)...Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe Hollywood crime dramas that set their protagonists in a world perceived as inherently corrupt and unsympathetic...Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s...Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography, while many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic noir derive from the hardboiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Depression...the term film noir (French for "black film"), first applied to Hollywood movies by French critic Nino Frank in 1946, was unknown to most of the American filmmakers and actors while they were creating the classic film noirs..the canon of film noir was defined in retrospect by film historians and critics; many of those involved in the making of film noir later professed to be unaware at the time of having created a distinctive type of film.

First up we have "BAD BLONDE" (1953) (81 min. B/W)...under director Reginald Le Borg , producer Anthony Hinds, book author Max Catto, screenplay by Guy Elmes and Richard H. Landau , music score by Ivor Slaney ...the cast includes Barbara Payton (Lorna Vecchi), Frederick Valk (Giuseppe Vecchi), John Slater (Charlie Sullivan), Sid James (Sharkey), Tony Wright (Johnny Flanagan), Marie Burke (Mother Vecchi), Selma Vaz Dias (Mrs. Corelli, Vecchi's sister), Enzo Coticchia (Mr. Corelli), George Woodbridge (Police Inspector), Bettina Dickson (Barmaid), John Brooking (Barnes) . . . . . our story based on a novel by Max Catto is very close to "The Postman Always Rings Twice", but this time the male lead is a boxer...Barbara Payton is blackmailing Tony Wright into killing her husband Frederick Valk, will he go through with it...only the final scene will tell, Valk is a scene stealer and gives it all he's worth.

1. Barbara Payton (aka: Barbara Lee Redfield)
Date of birth: 16 November 1927 - Cloquet, Minnesota
Date of death: 8 May 1967 - San Diego, California
2. Reginald Le Borg (Director)
Date of birth: 11 December 1902 - Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria)
Date of death: 25 March 1989 - Los Angeles, California

1. Scene selection
2. Trailers
3. Photo gallery
4. Bonus comments: The World of Hammer Noir by Richard M. Roberts

Second on the double bill is a Lippert Picture release "MAN BAIT (1952) (84 min. B/W)....under director Terence Fisher, producer Anthony Hinds, screenplay by James Hadley Chase and Frederick Knott, musical score by Frank Spencer ....the cast includes George Brent (John Harman), Marguerite Chapman (Stella Tracy), Raymond Huntley Clive Oliver), Peter Reynolds (Jeffrey Hart), Diana Dors (Ruby Bruce), Eleanor Summerfield (Vi), Meredith Edwards (Inspector Dale), Harry Fowler (Joe, clerk), Conrad Phillips (Detective Todd), Nelly Arno (Miss Rosetti, clerk), David Keir (Mr. Quince, clerk), Eleanor Bryan (Mary Lewis, clerk), Isabel Dean .(May Harmon), Jack Faint (Club Manager), Harold Goodwin (Frank, the waiter) . . . . . our story involves blackmail and murder with George Brent who runs a bookstore where employee Marguerite Chapman is in love with him...but wait there is more, a sexy untrusting good-looking Diana Dors who also works in the bookstore who has eyes for her boss...Brent has an invalid wife who needs an operation abroad and so cashing an insurance policy to pay for the operation everything seems like it will pan out, hold on it gets better, as Dors sees a good for nothing Peter Reynolds shoplifting, but doesn't tell boss...Dors and Reynolds become close, Reynolds has Dors blackmail Brent when he kissed her in a moment of letting his guard down...what will he do, can he keep this away from his wife Isabel Dean, can Chapman help him clear himself as Dors is found murdered and Brent is the prime suspect...all in all the best performance in this film noir is Diana Dors, completely natural and believable . . . . .there's a great deal of entertainment here for all the film noir fans out there...all courtesy of VCI Entertainment, who in my humble opinion is the best there is in restoring early serials and features like this one.

1. George Brent (aka: George Brendan Nolan)
Date of birth: 15 March 1899 - Shannonsbridge, County Dublin, Ireland
Date of death: 26 May 1979 - Solana Beach, California
2. Diana Dors (aka: Diana Mary Fluck)
Date of birth: 23 October 1931 - Swindon, Wiltshire, England, UK
Date of death: 4 May 1984 - Windsor, Berkshire, England, UK
3. Terence Fisher (Director)
Date of birth: 23 February 1904 - London, England, UK
Date of death: 18 June 1980 - Twickenham, London, England, UK

Great job by VCI Entertainment and Kit Parker Films for releasing the "Hammer Film Noir Vol. 1" (1952), digital transfere with a clean, clear and crisp print...looking forward to more of the same from the '40s and '50s vintage...order your copy now from Amazon or VCI Entertainment, stay tuned once again with a top notch "Classic Film Noir" that only VCI Entertainment (King of the Serials) can deliver...just the way we like 'em!

Total Time: 165 mins on DVD ~ VCI Home Video KPF 551 ~ (7/25/2006)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Out In The 1950s British Crime Noir Night 20 July 2012
By Alfred Johnson - Published on
Format: DVD
Bad Blonde, starring Barbara Payton, Hammer Film Classics, 1953

Some guys will tell you straight up-never trust a blonde, a good-looking blonde, because she has nothing but murder in her heart and gold more yellow than her hair driving her soul, if she has a soul. Other guys will tell you always trust a blonde, because like the blond in Dorothy Parker's short story, "Big Blonde," she has a heart of gold (and unrequited deep sexual urges too). Me, I can take them or leave, although the blonde in the British crime noir under review, Bad Blonde, should make any man think twice, no, six times before getting mixed up with her. Of course her badness drives this film, and no other attribute.

Of course the story line here is as old as the hills, or as old as there have been hot blondes giving their all to gold-digging, female god-digging, whichever came first. Lorna (played by Barbara Payton), an ex-tramp or something like that, got her hooks into an old- time Italian boxing promoter.
Strictly for the dough and security, okay, after too much time in the flops. But the guy is a buffoon, a rich old buffoon, but a buffoon. Enter one good-looking Johnny Flanagan, a young fighter with promise, and big muscles. They fall for each other, while he is training for the big fight. End of story.

Well, not quite. Although if you have seen enough crime noir you know you have seen this plot unravel before, and more elegantly, in the film adaptation of James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice and others. At some point the old geezer husband is just, well, just in the way, and Lorna starts working her "magic". Naturally Johnny comes to see things her way, kills that old- time promoter (showing a little ingratitude by the way) by drowning him in his very own pond and that is that. Except Johnny (not Lorna though) has plenty of remorse. Remorse enough want to go to the police and confess. Lorna, in clover now, fails to see it that way and poisons her lovely Johnny. But you know she will not get away with that, no way. Bad blond, indeed

[Note: On the great blonde controversy mentioned above I truly can take them or leave them, good or bad. My preference is strictly brunettes lately (although there was a time when I had a run of red-heads but that was kid time, and in the Irish ghetto, where you could hardly walk around the block without running into one who wanted to play some game with you). And believe brunettes are just as capable of leading you on a merry chase, of getting their hooks in you, into you good, as any dizzy blonde, Enough said.]

Man Bait, starring George Brent, Diana Dors, Hammer Film Collections, 1952

Sometimes the title of a crime noir will intrigue you, like The Postman Always Rings Twice, sometimes like this 1950s British crime noir under review, Man Bait (or another recently reviewed 1950s British noir, Bad Blonde), apparently the titles are mere happenstance. Either way this one is kind of, well, sleepy. Sleepy for the plot, and sleepy for action. Definitely a B-noir, very B.

Here is why. A low down grafter, Peter Hart, tries to steal a rare book out of a bookstore and is caught by an employee, Ruby Bruce (played by a young, and, yes, fetching Diana Dors). Instead of turning him in (making for a very short film) she gets into his slimy clutches (nice right) and makes her use her sexual prowess and position in the bookstore to "mark" (one would not realize such things went on such a quaint locale) the emotionally distraught bookstore owner (played by a very un-distraught appearing George Brent).

Now Peter is strictly a con man, no rough stuff, but one night when the pair are divvying up the loot provided by their scam old Ruby takes exception to the split and Peter bops her. Dead. Our boy Peter is no fall guy though and he sets up the "mark," that self-same distraught bookstore owner for Ruby's death. No way, no way in hell, distraught or not, is our heroic bookstore taking the fall. But guess who is.
4.0 out of 5 stars Noir Blonde Femme Fatales English Style. 30 Aug. 2014
By Chip Kaufmann - Published on
Format: DVD
I never cease to marvel at just how good a number of early Hammer films really are. Of the 14 films in VCI's HAMMER FILM NOIR series (7 DVDs - 2 films per disc), Volumes 1-3 are all minor gems. Volumes 4-6 are pretty good with 2 films PAID TO KILL and BLACK GLOVE being the standouts. Only Volume 7 (THE UNHOLY 4 and A RACE FOR LIFE) wasn't worth the trouble of releasing. The two films which make up Volume 1 are the cream of the crop with BAD BLONDE being a standout. Originally titled THE FLANAGAN BOY in Britain, this tight little number takes shopworn material and makes it fresh and interesting. Bombshell Barbara Payton is truly bad news as she seduces and then coerces naive boxer Tony Wright into murdering her older, rich husband before executing the ultimate double cross. The script is a decent combination of the THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE and BODY AND SOUL, the camerawork is first rate and the direction by American director Reginald Le Borg is the best of his career. However it's the performances that really make an impact especially Barbara Payton's. When she licks her lips over the boxer, it's a highly charged moment. She did similar good work in Hammer's sci-fi romance THE FOUR SIDED TRIANGLE the same year (1953). Too bad that alcohol and regular tabloid appearances destroyed her career.

The second film MAN BAIT (the original title in England was THE LAST PAGE as a lot of the action takes place in a second hand bookstore similar to 84 CHARING CROSS ROAD) is not as good due to a rather lethargic performance from leading man George Brent. At this point in their history, it was necessary for Hammer to use an on their way up but usually on their way down American "star" in the lead in order to secure financing and have their movies shown in America. The "man bait" of the title is the 21 year old Diana Dors who's terrific but she doesn't have enough screen time. Terence Fisher's direction covers up a multitude of sins but can't wholly redeem Brent's lackluster effort which isn't bad just really underplayed. The British supporting cast are all excellent as was usually the case with all the Hammer Noirs. The B movie running times (both films are under 80 minutes) help to keep both films from wearing out their welcome although in classic B movie style they resolve themselves rather quickly. Just remember, the British approach to Noir is not nearly as dark as their American counterparts so keep that in mind when you view these. The picture quality of all the DVDs in this series was excellent. The only real drawback is the remarkably condescending commentary provided by Richard M. Roberts.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SILLY BUT FUN! 9 May 2013
By Mark Mcgee - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The image quality on these two movies is decent. Bad Blonde is the best of the two but neither title is really good. However, it should be noted that they are both film noirs. Sometimes VCI promotes their crime films as film noirs because they sell better.
1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars hammer fillm noir 13 Sept. 2009
By sowhat - Published on
Format: DVD
I bought vol ! which is a part of Volume !. BEware.... Beware.... this has to be lousiet noir series in history.
The films are old and unfocused, there is no plot. The word HAMMER is the reason I bought them. Believe me the word Hammer means you will be hammered if you buy any or all of this HAMMER NOIR films. If you could rate them below 1 star it would be (00000)
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