Sexy friendly disc jockey Norah Dain (Juliet Prowse) spins the dance tunes for the punters at the nightclub she works. Dropping jiving, hip swinging records for the happy drunks dancing and twisting the night hours away. She’s a nice popular girl who gets attention from a few admirers and looked after by the Manhattan nightclub boss Marian Freeman (Elaine Stritch).
Unfortunately for our Norah, one admirer takes things to another level and begins to phone her in the early hours of the night. Starting to stalk the young girl whilst lounging around in his briefs, freaking the poor lass out. After a few nights of being harassed she gets in contact with the police who sends out Lt. Dave Madden (Jan Murray) an obsessed stalking specialist who takes his work home with him.
Tagline – Why with everybody else…. Why with every slob… And not with me?
Now at Norah’s work there’s a few suspects, a rude obnoxious customer who keeps pestering her and a large deaf club bouncer called Carlo (Daniel J Travanti) who keeps an eye out for her. And then there’s a young waiter who nervously wanders around her. This guy is Lawrence Sherman (Sal Mineo) and sadly Lawrence has a pretty messed up family life and cares for his mentally challenged sister Edie (Margot Bennett) who was brain damaged as a child. He looks after her and works the nights before spending the rest of the evening brooding and sweating in his underwear!
This film really knows how to hit out the controversial subjects and to be honest I don’t think anything gets left unturned. This sixties film went all out to shock in this psychological thriller. It might be shocking but it’s also extremely well played out and acted. The black and white camera angle shots are superb, giving it a lush Film Noir feel. Especially the 60’s New York scenes as Lawrence Sherman runs throughout the bright lights, big city, sleazy Soho peepshows, sex shops and porno movie theatres trying to relieve that caught up frustration.
It’s really no mystery who the telephone stalker is as it’s obvious from the get go but that isn’t the whole story. Where can this film go, how far will people go to help our DJ Norah? Is the Lieutenant on the case? Can he work it out or is he too far engrossed in the case details? And more importantly can Norah teach some of her special dance moves to the non movers?
Norah Dain – “There are some things a girl prefers to pick out herself. And high on the list, right underneath lipstick, is a bed partner.”
Recommended by my friend Weegee, this one hit all the right notes for me. Short and to the point, shocking and well acted plus features a good selection of 60’s groove music. With the title and end theme tune totally smashing it, Who Killed Teddy Bear, I read is sung by uncredited Rita Dyson and it’s a delightful beautiful song
The film is directed by Joseph Cates who I see on IMDB went off on a different direction, to produce a whole heap of television entertainment from the likes of Steve Martin comedy specials to Johnny Cash Christmas specials to David Copperfield magic shows.
Here’s the film in full on Youtube ready to be enjoyed. Pack you whistle to blast down the phone if it rings, oil up those dancing hips and shut your blinds!
Enjoy….. Mikey Wolfman