Obsession (1949) British Politeness, A Hot Water Bottle & A Perfect Murder

Obsession (1949) The Hidden Room Robert Newton Sally Gray poster artwork

Storm Riordan (Sally Gray) is not to be confused with a certain naughty Stormy who turned tricks for a President with bouffant hair in her spare time. Or even be mistaken for that African American lady who causes pandemonium with her weather controlling superpowers when she’s in a bit of a mood. No, this Storm is a pretty normal lass, goes to work, likes the cinema and entertaining friends. She loves her cute little dog, Monty but unfortunately she has fallen out of love with her husband Dr. Clive Riordan (Robert Newton)

Obsession (1949) The Hidden Room Robert Newton Sally Gray beautiful smile

Truth be told she liked his fun manner when they first met and married. He would ask her to call him by the alias of Long John Silver.  She giggled as he “arrrr” and joked “shiver me timbers” whilst walking around with a limp. She didn’t even mind the relentless singing of “Yo Oh Oh and a Bottle Of Rum”. Though she wasn’t over keen on his bizarre affection he shared with his stuffed parrot but she’d learned to let that go. No, it was when he became a local doctor that, dare she say, he’s became boring. No more fun pirate games, just now stories about people ailments. He’d changed. To be honest he was spending more time down the pub.

Obsession (1949) The Hidden Room Phil Brown uncle owen

Then out of the blue, a charismatic American had arrived. Bill Kronin (Phil Brown) had excited her with wild stories of galaxies far far away. She loved stories. He’d tell yarns about when he lived as a farmer called Owen on a desert planet. How he felt compelled to guzzle back pints of blue milk and constantly tell off his nephew for blowing up Womp Rats down at Beggar’s Canyon. All these quirky strange tales had excited her. She laughed and smiled. She was happy again. Besides he also liked to dance and fool around. He was far removed from her serious doctor husband.

Tagline – Whose eye could see… Whose ear could hear… Whose mind could know… the Secret!

Obsession (1949) The Hidden Room Robert Newton hiding in the shadows

Well Dr. Clive wasn’t going to take any of this here nonsense, he wasn’t going to be made a fool of. He’d sat in the men’s club milling it over in his head. Obsessed. He had a gun and a perfect plan. This flirty Yank had messed with the wrong mans wife. Besides he had access to plenty of clever ways to get rid of him and quite honestly he may have the perfect murder. But don’t worry, he will stay a perfect gentlemen to the bitter end.

Obsession (1949) The Hidden Room Robert Newton Sally Gray phil brown

Now what could Dr Clive have planned for this American? Well all I tell you is he has a stash of many hot water bottles and carries around two flasks of coffee and a cooked chicken! He’s up to something that is so dastardly that it’s unbelievable to see on a film from 1949! To be honest it’s a shocker. To add to this sinister notion is his fact that he does it in such a British polite manner. Like Queensbury rules of murder. With the arrival of a mild-mannered detective from Scotland Yard, Supt. Finsbury (Naunton Wayne) can he and Storm work out what is going on?

Obsession (1949) The Hidden Room Robert Newton Naunton Wayne scotland yard policeman

Tagline – Hidden LOVE! Hidden HATE! Hidden FEAR!

  • The film is directed by Edward Dmytryk who smashed high on the wolf meter before with The Sniper and Crossfire to name a few. Edward had left Hollywood during the Red Scare of fear mongering of communist infiltration in the film industry, which resulted with many being blacklisted. Edward came to England in 1948 and was granted a permit to work.
  • Obsession was released in America under the title The Hidden Room. It is an adaption of a book called A Man About A Dog by Alec Coppel who also wrote the screenplay.
  • As you probably guessed with the nonsense I wrote above that yes Phil Brown would go on to play Luke Skywalker’s, Uncle Owen and that Robert Newton played the swashbuckling Long John Silver in Treasure Island.
  • If you fancy giving Obsession a go it is available at time of writing on Youtube to stream here.

This film is another prime example of the joys of having this movie blog as a wonderful hobby. The joy at the random discovery of films that have the ability to grab your attention and shock is a constant wonder to me. This film maybe a little slow paced for some but the banter, premise and undercurrent danger that this shows is what I so love about movies. I’m sure you’ve already worked out this will score high on my monthly watch ratings. Have you seen this one? Let me know if you have or feel free to pop back and let me know if you see later.

Keep digging for those hidden gems and thanks for having a read. All the best….. Mikey Wolfensteiner.


Of Human Bondage (1934) A Sucker For Punishment!

Of Human Bondage (1934) Bette Davis Leslie Howard John Cromwell movie poster

Featuring one of the most scathingly brutal smash downs I’ve seen on screen. Not only do you witness the moment the human spirit breaks inside a poor unfortunate fellow but you the viewers own eternal soul is torn from its tether. The intensity of the fierce, savage beatdown is spat into the face of its victim like erupting molten lava. He stands, shocked, flabbergasted and innocently stupid as he takes his punishment!  But what else would you expect from a movie with a title called Of Human Bondage?

Tagline – The story of a man who burnt up his soul for an idol cold as ice!

Haha I will say this has to be up there with one of the most depressing films I’ve seen. You know what, if the snapping of a human heart with an uppercut of pure venom, hate and disgust wasn’t enough? They only went off and made this film three blooming times!

Of Human Bondage (1934) Bette Davis Leslie Howard getting the cold shoulder

Oh course I’m being facetious. This is a deep look into the human condition. Obsession or simply put “a sucker for punishment”. Showing what rejection, disappointment and failure through your life could do to your self-importance. When your self esteem, ego and pride have all taken a right royal bashing. Becoming obsessed with a girl even if she is a screaming banshee and the queen of the harpies.

Of Human Bondage (1934) Bette Davis drinking champagne with Leslie Howard

It’s based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham and somewhat an autobiography of his life!! Poor guy. Recognized as a masterpiece. Reading his bio, William Somerset Maugham didn’t sound like Philip in anyway! Served in the ambulance corps during WW1 and was recruited into the Secret Intelligence Services. Wrote many novels that were turned into films, was openly bisexual and an atheist whilst living to the ripe old age of 91.

Tagline – The greatest novel of the twentieth century now brings to the screen humanity’s tortured heart-cry!

After coming off the back of The Petrified Forest with the duo Bette and Leslie depicting a vision of hope, dreams and destiny in a film that I adored and constantly on my mind. The stark reality was after that film I just wasn’t prepared for the bleakness Of Human Bondage. You will be pleased to know that I did manage to laugh it of and joking aside it’s a fantastic film with strong performances.

Of Human Bondage (1934) Bette Davis Leslie Howard waitress falls in love

Mildred Rogers (Bette Davis) gives us the no-nonsense sleazy waitress who flirts smiles hot and flips stern cold. Whether it’s an elderly gentleman (Alan Hale) or a young innocent medical student like Philip Carey (Leslie Howard) she seems to attract men like a magnet. But let’s be fair to her, she doesn’t lead him on at all, she’s nasty and off right from the get go. He’s just a sucker who’s lost in a delusional state. Never been in love, picked on, had his dreams of being an artist squashed and losing his parents at a young age all took there toll on poor Philips ego. To add to his woes, Philip sufferers from a club foot. His desire is to walk without the limp and impress with his dancing skills. Can Mildred and Philip make a go of this blossoming relationship?

Of Human Bondage (1934) Bette Davis Leslie Howard enjoying dinner

So if you are feeling a tad bit happy with yourself and need to have the happiness levels brought down a touch then tune into Of Human Bondage. It dropped into public domain and is available to watch on Youtube here. It features fantastic performances from both Bette and Leslie. I read that it is regarded by critics as the performance that made Bette Davis a star, even with that cockney accent!

Of Human Bondage (1934) Bette Davis the calm before the storm

Directed by John Cromwell who made the prison drama with Eleanor Parker called Caged (that I loved) and Dead Reckoning with Humphrey Bogart which I’m still to see. Looking at his filmography he made a ton of films, especially throughout the 30’s. I will need to go investigate.

Of Human Bondage (1946) poster

Of the two other versions Of Human Bondage. In 1946 club foot duties go to Paul Henreid and Eleanor Parker takes on the terrorizing slut slot. Then if your sadistic mood was high and were thirsty for more pain and anguish you could head off to 1964 for more doom and gloom. The low self esteemed limping doctor this time is Laurence Harvey and the saucy sexy siren of too much desire is portrayed by Kim Novak. Apparently I read that Novak thought Harvey was arrogant and conceited, so I assume the hate filled moments might have some extra venom in the sting! Anyone seen either of these two versions?

Of Human Bondage (1964) poster Kim Novak

Tagline – He swore he’d never touch her again…… and then she whispered his name and he was lost…..

Of Human Bondage (1934) Bette Davis Leslie Howard in better times

The Naked Jungle (1954) Charlton Hates Ants And Sloppy Seconds!

The Naked Jungle (1954) Eleanor Parker Charlton Heston ants technicolor poster

Christopher (Charlton Heston) is a king kong prat! He’s gifted a beautiful, intelligent, free spirited, buxom, mail order bride with only one real desire, to procreate! And all this moody plonker can worry about is sloppy seconds! He’s not a happy bunny at all, huffing and puffing, this primadonna has mood swings coming out his arse! Temper tantrums, door smashing, perfume throwing and he even proudly announces his skill at reframing from bedding his indigenous workers! He’s a total twonk.

The Naked Jungle (1954) Christopher (Charlton Heston) moody Continue reading “The Naked Jungle (1954) Charlton Hates Ants And Sloppy Seconds!”

The Snake Pit (1948) Olivia de Schizo Journeys The Levels Of Madness!

The Snake Pit (1948) movie poster film artwork olivia de havillandMaybe it’s an insight into my own fractured mind but I do enjoy a good insane asylum film. Traveling into the depths of madness. They do have to be done well and feature deep thoughts on the subject. Films like David and Lisa and Shock Corridor have score high on my wolfy meter. Continue reading “The Snake Pit (1948) Olivia de Schizo Journeys The Levels Of Madness!”

The Petrified Forest (1936) A Waitress, a Hobo and a Bank Robber Walk Into a Bar

The Petrified Forest (1936) Leslie Howard Bette Davis Humphrey Bogart movie poster

There I was sitting giggling to myself, waiting for this hilarious, frightened, petrified woodland to appear only to find out it was just a few rocks in the godforsaken desert. Of course I’m only having a laugh. I found The Petrified Forest a very intriguing title. I knew Humphrey Bogart had a standout role within the film but I wasn’t here this time for him. This viewing was for a certain actress called Bette Davis, which, sit down before I say this, I’d not seen any of her films! Please forgive me, I take myself off on a long walk as penance!

The Petrified Forest (1936) Leslie Howard wandering desert tumbleweed dusty road Continue reading “The Petrified Forest (1936) A Waitress, a Hobo and a Bank Robber Walk Into a Bar”

They Drive by Night (1940) The Magnificent Fabrini Brothers

They Drive By Night (1940) poster movie Raoul Walsh Bogie Raft Lupino

Humphrey Bogart is back again hitting my screen in the wolf lair as the quest to work through his films carries on. This time HB was in supporting role mode in this 1940’s movie called They Drive By Night . Top billing duties went to George Raft who, lets be honest, sounds more like Humphrey than Bogie himself in this. These two native New Yorkers make very believable brothers. Let’s meet the Fabrini Brothers. Continue reading “They Drive by Night (1940) The Magnificent Fabrini Brothers”

In a Lonely Place (1950) Angry Bogie’s Fury And An Alternative Ending

In a Lonely Place (1950) Humphrey Bogart Nicholas Ray movie poster one sheet

Before doing this blog I was blissfully unaware of Humphrey Bogart being bad! I’d only seen a handful of his movies and what with his legendary status following you around since whenever I can remember. Call me naive, I’d always thought he played good guys.  Well rogues or strong willed tough guys with a heart of gold or a cast iron moral code. Well I couldn’t have been more wrong! He was somewhat naughty in The Desperate Hours but I have to say I didn’t expect him to beat his despicable me part in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. So you see I wasn’t ready for Dixon Steele to turn up in In a Lonely Place and not reading anything about it when going in I’d expected him to be another Samuel Spade style PI. Continue reading “In a Lonely Place (1950) Angry Bogie’s Fury And An Alternative Ending”

City That Never Sleeps (1953) Robot Man, Strippers, Magician And A City God!

City That Never Sleeps (1953) poster one sheeet noir gig young mala powers

Voice of Chicago – “The city at night. A million homes, three and a half million people, all different from one another. People lovin’, people hatin’, people stealin’, people prayin’..”

Opening with the voice of Chicago looking down on its citizens, you can kinda guess we’re not in traditional film noir setting. Well actually the underlying story couldn’t be anymore noir but this strange little film has managed to squeeze in a few cheeky little surprises. So what’s going on Wolfie? Continue reading “City That Never Sleeps (1953) Robot Man, Strippers, Magician And A City God!”

Dillinger (1973) Warren Oates Is Public Enemy Number One

Dillinger (1973) poster one sheet art work bank robber

Heavy hitting gangsters all on the screen at the same time. This film portrays the notorious last years of bank robber and gangster John Dillinger and his infamous gang of men. Written and directed by a legend in his own right John Milius.

Set during the Great Depression in the early 1930’s this action packed movie follows the charismatic John Dillinger on his quest to relieve the banks of their funds. Following the deaths of several law enforcement officers during the carnage of the Kansas City Massacre in 1933 FBI special agent Melvin Purvis steps up on a personal mission to bring these hoodlums to justice. If that justice is at the hand of a gun and a smoking cigar, so be it. This is the story of the G-Men (the FBI government men) and their mission to put a stop the Dillinger Gang, the ruthless terror gang. Here are all the players surrounding our Public Enemy Number One…… Continue reading “Dillinger (1973) Warren Oates Is Public Enemy Number One”