Fragment of Fear (1970) David Hemmings Freaks To The Johnny Harris Funky As Hell Soundtrack

Fragment of Fear (1970) David Hemmings Gayle Hunnicutt poster cover dvd columbia pictures horror mystery

Tim Brett (David Hemmings) has a wildly funky soundtrack following him around. Maybe it was all the heroin he’d injected in his veins? Maybe all the acid trips he’d dropped. You’d of thought now he was a recovering drug addict, chilling out in sunny Italy, he’d of cleared his mind of that intoxicating driving beat! His sweet Aunt Lucy (Flora Robson) visits him and congratulates him on his success. The flute goes off his mind. You see his eyes twitch. Aunt Lucy wants to help people. His foot taps to the beat. She looks away, calls the waiter. An involuntary spasm! Arms and legs going ecstatic to all the instruments. A peculiar sight to see. Like he was trying to play every instrument at once. He was unprepared for such an outbreak. He manages to control it. It was now contained. Aunt Lucy hadn’t seen his freak-out. He feared opening his month just in case that frantic flute fanfare blasted out, straight into her innocent face. Oh his beloved Aunt.

Tagline – Murder in Pompeii. Voices in the night. Despair in the gutter. A phantasmagoria of fright!

Fragment of Fear (1970) David Hemmingsstaring in shop chemist

Something compels him to do a karate chop! Why? That damn groovy music spontaneously keeps trying to escape! Oh gosh! Not now! Damn you cool music! I’ve got such sad news to deal with. Now was not the time to gyrate! You see poor Aunt Lucy’s been murdered. A woman screams. She found her covered in flies. He moves his hips to the infectious sounds within his head. He hates it but loves that killer beat. He shouts, muffled through his clasped hand. “I wanna cry Bruce Lee fighting sounds and do back-flips“. He decides to ask the woman out. She says yes. Maybe she was in shock! Maybe it’s his tremendous well timed dance moves! “What the hell are you doing Tim!!?” asks Juliet Bristow (Gayle Hunnicutt). “I’m dancing” is all he could honestly reply.

Fragment of Fear (1970) David Hemmings Gayle Hunnicutt italy

He sat by the graveside and pondered the thought that maybe he’s damaged his brain? “Insane in the membrane?” Too many drugs not enough recovery time. Oh Aunt Lucy what happen? He spies a note stuck between the bereavement flowers. It reads. “From The Stepping Stones in memory of happier times…” What the hell does that mean Aunt Lucy? “Who or what are the Stepping Stones?

Months pass. He’s back in London. Wedding plans soon come. Oh that’s ok. His mind is visited by the other melody. The mellower chilled out theme tune. The other one. Still a cold darn funky number. He slowly jigs his body, smiles and nods his head. It’s certainly not as frantic. A kind of dirty jazz funk sound. Sleazy and sexy. His hips start grinding again. Another flashback. Hippy’s, hands, ooooo lovemaking. Suddenly aware the curtains and the windows are open in his room. There’s a pigeon called Columbus. The telephone rings.

Fragment of Fear (1970) David Hemmings sweating horror paranoia mystery stare confussed

Weird stuff happens. He’s scared, he pukes. Strange phone calls. A hysterical laugh. Dodgy coppers, people watching. The door opens, the floorboards creak. There’s someone here! Then that damn FLUTE! Oh I do love that flute. So raw, so animalistic, sensual maybe? crazy………

OK as you’ve probably guessed none of that or some of that didn’t happen. I’m not really sure to be honest. What I do know is Tim goes investigating his Aunts unexpected death and it turns his life upside down.

Tim –Either I am mad and all this isn’t happening to me, or else I’m sane and it is.

Fragment of Fear (1970) David Hemmings sweating horror paranoia mystery stare close up

The Production

This British psychological thriller was adapted from a book of the same name written by John Bingham. Who interestingly goes by the super fancy name of John Michael Ward Bingham, 7th Baron Clanmorris and was a former MI5 spy turned novelist writing thrillers and spy books. The screenplay was by Paul Dehn who’d worked on the spy thriller The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1965) and all the Planet of the Apes sequel films. In the directors chair sat Richard C Sarafian. He’s go on to make the cult classic Vanishing Point (1971) and the excellent Lolly-Madonna XXX (1973) which I’d reviewed last year.

The amazing thing about Fragment Of Fear is the cast. So many familiar faces pop up. You got the quintessential gentleman Wilfrid Hyde-White, and Dad’s Army very own Capt. Mainwaring’s Arthur Lowe. George and Mildred’s Yootha Joyce and Grady (Philip Stone) from The Shining (1980) and Dave The Barman Harris from Minder otherwise known as Glynn Edwards. Then there’s eye patch James Bond villain Largo from Thunderball (1965). Plus Aunt Lucy might only have a small part but what a career she had. Flora Robson was in Black Narcissus (1947) to 7 Women (1966) to name a few. So many different character actors keep appearing in this film.

The Soundtrack

I only recently knew that the composer and musical arranger Johnny Harris record Movements I’d been freaking to for many years was bizarrely featured within this film. It even says on the back cover that the tracks Fragments Of Fear and Stepping Stones are from the Columbia motion picture Fragment Of Fear. I hadn’t notice it until a friend mention it and sparked my desire to see the film as soon as I could. So intrigued to see how on God’s sweet Earth this soundtrack could fit into a film filled with mystery, horror, paranoia and madness. Well of course for me it was perfect. However I will honestly add that I could well imagine, for many, this soundtrack is waaaaaaaay off the chart too bonkers for this film. The track “Stepping Stones” is in pure 70’s cops, robbers, pimps, you name it, chase theme stylee. When it’s first used, it’s when Tim walks from his Aunts grave! Yep that’s right, walks from his Aunts grave and then proceeds to look in a bin!. Give it a listen.

But first read this Aunt grave visiting music comment on YouTube…..
bloody hell, I wasn’t mentally prepared for this much funk!

So much funk that Levi’s 501 Jean’s used it in their 1997 Kung Fu inspired commercial. Note, not a sad melancholy TV commercial for elderly burial coffins, old people homes or wills.

The main theme that actually drifts in and out throughout the whole soundtrack is the one named after the film. It’s a beautiful piece of music. Piano and arrangements are conducted by Johnny Harris with Bass by Herbie Flowers, drums by Harold Fisher and that amazing flute by Harold McNair. Check it out. Sit back and chill to this after the mayhem of Stepping Stones. Much like the cover photo it might give you an orgasm face! So please be warned.

It’s a shame just those two tracks were used as I’d have loved to of heard my other favourite from the album, the beautiful, serene and easy listening Footsteps On The Moon. Which I believe was originally used during the television broadcast of the actual Moon landing footage.

Here’s me chilling with my copy. The picture doesn’t pick up that my whole body is in fact gyrating to the beat.

Wolfman cult film johnny Harris record vinyl fragments of fear movements LP wolf

The Verdict

It’s an intriguing film that’s for sure. I’m a sucker for these type of films. Was it any good? I liked it a quite a lot. The two best things that overshadow everything else is obviously the soundtrack that is wildly over the top for the film. The other superb thing is the atmosphere. The world is created and expertly filmed with an almost dream like quality to it. Felt myself drawn into the story but ultimately let down a tad by the end. With a bit more time to have developed on a twist which could of elevated the film more. David Hemmings carries the film well, he looks scared and worried when he needs to, sweats buckets and deals with the bizarre oncoming situations well. I’ve always loved David Hemmings for his choice of interesting movies. Whether it’s 60s iconic films like Blow-Up (1966) or Barbarella (1968) or the amazing two little unknown mini masterpieces that I’ve reviewed on here like Unman, Wittering and Zigo (1971) and The Long Day’s Dying (1968).

I’ll give Fragment Of Fear an interesting oddball offering of……….. 7.5/10

Thanks for popping and if you did read the above please except my apologies. Yeah I get a bit carried away sometimes. Hehe… Have fun with movies…

Mikey Wolf

His Kind of Woman (1951) Effortlessly Cool Robert Mitchum And Scene Stealing Vincent Price Go Toe To Toe With Gangster Burr

His Kind Of Woman (1951) Robert Mitchum Jane Ruseell Vincent Price Poster Noir

Stepping into frame with that sleepy-eyed uber cool swagger is Robert Mitchum. This review is for a fun little noir called His Kind of Woman (1951)

What’s going down?

Dan Milner (Robert Mitchum) is a gambling man. Down on his luck. On the look for his next trick. His unlucky streak is made worse when three gangster’s heavies turn up at his apartment. Demanding money owed on a horse race he never bet on. It ends with Dan taking a beating. Later he’s contacted to take a mysterious job that will pay big bills. 50 thousand dollars with a 5 thousand advance. The job will take him out of the country to a remote Mexican resort. He will then receive further instructions to his task. Dan Milner isn’t stupid. He takes the job to keep the gangsters off his back but he’s stays forever observant. They aren’t gonna get one over on him! Dotted around the resort are many suspicious and dodgy looking holiday makers. Dan keeps his eye on each and everyone. Caught up in the story is underworld boss Nick Ferraro (Raymond Burr) trying to escape Italy after being deported. Wishing to get back on American soil to continue his gangster ways. Can Dan Milner work out what he is being paid to do?

His Kind Of Woman (1951) Robert Mitchum film noir drama thriller

The main players

Robert Mitchum – Dan Milner
Jane Russell – Lenore Brent
Vincent Price – Mark Cardigan
Tim Holt – Bill Lusk
Charles McGraw – Thompson
Marjorie Reynolds – Helen Cardigan
Raymond Burr – Nick Ferraro
John Mylong – Martin Krafft

Tagline – They were two of a kind ! …and bound to meet, but neither of them knew what such a meeting would mean!

His Kind Of Woman (1951) Robert Mitchum Jane Russell together sex appeal

Sure I’ve seen them in something?

  • Of course Robert Mitchum is known for amazing performances like Out of the Past (1947), The Night of the Hunter (1955) and one of my favorites Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957). The only two I’ve done, so far, for my film blog are Crossfire (1947) and the masterpiece The Yakuza (1974). Pop back over the month, more Mitchum’s to come.
  • I’m ashamed to say I haven’t seen any Jane Russell movies other than Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) many years ago. Feel free to recommend.
  • If there’s one film you see with Charles McGraw then makes sure it’s The Narrow Margin (1952)
  • I don’t believe this is my first Vincent Price post! How could it be! The guys a legend! Check the awesome The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), Pit and the Pendulum (1961), House of Wax (1953) and Laura (1944) to name a few.
  • Tim Holt starred alongside Humphrey Bogart in the western treasure digging drama The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) along with many other westerns.
  • It’s amazing to know that Raymond Burr was always the go-to bad guy with his hulking big frame. Then later in his career he’d become the quintessential, much loved, good guy in TV crime detective characters such as Ironside and Perry Mason. He stars in possibly my favourite Alfred Hitchcock film with James Stewart in Rear Window (1954) and two I’ve reviewed on my film site called Desperate (1947) and Raw Deal (1948) both of which are essential noirs.

Notes on production?

His Kind Of Woman is directed by John Farrow who had earlier made these two excellent noirs. Alias Nick Beal (1949) and The Big Clock (1948) both starring Ray Milland. Production sounds like a total nightmare. I read that Howard Hughes was desperate to get his two big stars Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell to feature together as “the epitome of sexual chemistry“. When the film wrapped he wasn’t happy at all. Even resulting in what sounds like blackmailing uncredited director Richard Fleischer to re-shoot chunks of the film, especially the end. Using Fleischer’s recently finished The Narrow Margin as a bargaining chip. Hughes wanted more Vincent Price, who he loved and for the film to feature more comedy, more death, brutality, and more fighting. Howard Hughes must of drove everyone to their absolute wits end but there’s no denying that his changes were, for us the viewer, perfection.

His Kind Of Woman (1951) Robert Mitchum film noir drama thriller spying

Hits like a sledge hammer

Robert Mitchum always looks so damn cool but his take on Dan Milner is stylish, rugged and tough with an unabashed confidence. Each time he walks on screen he stops, pops his hands in his suit jacket, leans back and begins to read the room. Busy taking in the atmosphere. Prying to be one step ahead of whatever dangerous situation he has coming his way. But when things start to hit like a sledge hammer he can’t always be ready. And boy does he take a beating. “The boys know not to mess up his face! OK! Don’t rough him up too much“. is just the start. When the end arrives it’s insanely brutal, so brutal that I read that Mitchum saw red! Going completely mad on set, smashing the hell out of everything when acting turned into more of a bashing for this star during the finale. Which must be saying something as you can only imagine Mitchum being just as tough off screen. It’s also said that Raymond Burr might of even accidentally knocked him out.

Nick Ferraro –I want him to be fully conscious. I don’t like to shoot a corpse. I want to see the expression on his face when he knows it’s coming.

His Kind Of Woman (1951) Raymond Burr gangster gun mafia boss

Made me smile from ear to ear

“Hollywood legend” Mark Cardigan (Vincent Price) putting on his own personal cinema showings of his films as he sits at the back rejoicing in his talents. Dressed in his evening smoking jacket he claps excitedly to his own movie performances. Glancing around the room to catch peoples reactions whilst his swashbuckling swordsmanship play out on the screen. It’s a delight to watch him as it always is but here it reaches another level of brilliance and it warms your heart. To add to this he announces wonderful lines like these “Now might I drink hot blood and do such bitter business the earth would quake to look upon.” or “I must rid all the seas of pirates!

His Kind Of Woman (1951) the wonderful vincent price clapping himself

Verdict

His Kind Of Woman manages to slice a few differing film genres within it’s narrative. You got a hard-boiled gangster drama, a dark film noir filled with action, a little romance and some surprising comic moments. You could worry that the comedy side, which has Vincent Price in hilarious form, would distract from the grittiness of the story. However, strangely it doesn’t at all. Even more bizarre is Robert Mitchum plays his part perfectly, he’s tough, wise and just looks so effortlessly cool. But somehow Vincent Price’s portrayal of the brave and kind thespian Mark Cardigan completely steals the show. He’s desperate to show he’s as brave as the part he plays in his films. You are with him as he relishes in his moment. Oh and Jane Russell is smoking hot too.

His Kind Of Woman (1951) Robert Mitchum Jane Russell on beach swim suit

This was a SUPERB recommend by Mikes Take On The Movies. I’m sure he has a review as the big Vincent Price fan that he is. Be sure to check his Spotlighting Vincent Price On the Small Screen Part one and Part Two.

Rating score

Wolfman’s rating 8.5/10       IMDB 7.1/10

Feel free to recommend me related movies and any other trivia if you wish. Keep having fun at the movies…. Mikey Wolf

Shoot to Kill (1988) All Action FBI Agent Sidney Poitier Goes Wild In The Woods

Shoot To Kill (1988) Sidney Poitier Tom Berenger movie poster dvd cover

He stood talking in the mirror whilst pushing a few wrinkles on his head “They’re not bad at all? Shiiiiiit I’m a 60 year old man. I still got it“. Pondering back over the last ten years out of the game. Deep down he’d missed it. Forsure we all missed him. “It’s all action guys now. Beefcake whippersnappers! That Rambo guy, Sly Stallone and that Austrian giant! Arnie something. He took on an alien in the jungle ffs!. Shiiiiit man things have surely changed since I’ve been gone?

You know what though? I’m back. The book is finished and I’m ready to show that this old man is as tough as the rest of them. YEAH They’ll see. I can go all First Blood, Commando on their arse.” “YEP I’ll show them” He takes a step back. Full frame in the mirror. A little jog on the spot. He psyches himself up. Now shadow boxing and staring himself out. “That’s it SP you can do! Come on! Who are you? Shout it out“. More punches to the air, he smiles and starts to chant. “SIDNEY POITIER SIDNEY POITIER SIDNEY POITIER” “I’m back baby!“. The world sighed a breath of relief, all was well in the universe once again. Continue reading

Unearthly Stranger (1963) A British Sci-fi Gem With An Explosion Inside His Brain

Unearthly Stranger (1963) John Neville British Science Fiction film poster thriller

A spine-chilling sound resonates eerily through the cloudy skies. A man appears, panicked. Fear upon his face. Rain falls in the pitch black of night. Big Ben looms in the moody landscape. The man turns and runs. Down steep stairs, along cobbled lanes. By the River Thames he hurries through the puddles as beams of light from street lamps make ghostly lines and angles. London is asleep. The man is alone. He carries on to his destination. Bursting through the doors of his office, covered in a mix of sweat and rain, he grabs the tape recorder. Agitated and holding back hysteria, Dr. Mark Davidson (John Neville) looks us directly in the eyes and feverishly warns the world of the Unearthly Stranger.

Unearthly Stranger (1963) John Neville British Science Fiction fear thriller tape recorder panic

Dr. Mark Davidson – In a little while I expect to die. To be killed by… something… that you and I know is here? Visible yet moving unseen amongst us all each moment of the day and night. There were times when you thought I was insane BUT listen to this tape I beg you so you know what it is you have to fight!

Continue reading

Green for Danger (1946) Doctors, Flirting, Doodlebugs, Murder and Alastair Sim

Green for Danger (1946) Alastair Sims murder mystery whodunit movie poster

Joseph Higgins (Moore Marriott) was the friendly village postman. He fondly remembered back to before the war had turned his quaint little village into a WWII hospital. Now it was over run by doctors, surgeons and nurses. Being on the flight path of the German V1 rocket bombardment of England there wasn’t a day go by without that terrible sound filling the skies. The probability you were gonna be blown to smithereens was an everyday worry! Oh how he wished to be sat in the local pub knocking back a few bevvies with his mates. Continue reading

Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (1969) Gerry Anderson Pulls Away The Strings

journey to the far side of the sun (1969) poster

The incredible had happened. The mindblowing discovery of a new planet in our solar system! How can that be? Hidden behind the sun, following our own Earth’s orbital pathway, was another celestial body. Always hidden. The year is 2069. With data being processed from a returning Sun Probe, the shock findings throw intrigued and mild panic through the European Space Exploration Council. EUROSEC’s director Jason Webb (Patrick Wymark) mind goes into overdrive. They need to urgently send a manned mission to the mysterious new planet immediately. Continue reading

Black Moon (1975) Science Fiction Fantasy French Fruit Loop Mind Wibble Wobble

black moon (1975) louis malle poster amazzing artwork eagle

Is this science fiction? It certainly starts that way! Kind of post-apocalyptic. Maybe not following a nuclear war but some other world-wide disaster has probably happened. I got a sense and feeling of Alfonso Cuarón’s 2006 sci-fi thriller Children Of Men to start with. The bleak and the gloom, the underlying air of sadness. Yes that was soon to change and oh, how we all laughed that I could have thought such a thing! Hehe. But first…… Continue reading