Out this week are three new releases from Renown Pictures, purveyors of B-movies and archive features which time has cruelly forgotten.
First up we have a double bill of films from director Terry Bishop, both dating from 1959 and plucked from the “quota quickie” stockpile: Life in Danger and Cover Girl Killer. Clocking in at just an hour in length, these films were designed as support features for bigger A movies, though they both still have their merits.
Prime amongst Cover Girl Killer’s is the presence of future Harold Steptoe, Harry H Corbett, just four years away from the role that would define him. Here, he’s an unnamed psychopath with a penchant for killing, you guessed it, cover girls. He’s now being chased by the coppers, led by the stoic Inspector Brunner (Victor Brooks).
Life in Danger stars the underrated Derren Nesbitt as a convict who has escaped from an asylum and who hides out in a local village. Hunted by the villagers, the man befriends a local girl, Hazel (Julie Hopkins) and tries to plan his escape.
With their short running times demanding that extraneous material be kept to a minimum, Bishop ensures they fairly zip along. While Corbett is always watchable, shining whenever he’s given more than a few words to utter, the chance to see a young Nesbitt (and fellow alumni from TV’s The Prisoner, Peter Swanwick, as the asylum head) is welcome.
The third film, available on its own, is 1961’s Pit of Darkness, starring the voice of 1000 adverts, William Franklyn, as a man who wakes up on a bomb site with no memory of the previous three weeks, but who has the nagging feeling something very bad has happened.
Franklyn may not be the typical square-jawed hero, but his confused pauses which result from flashbacks are well played, while support from Nanette Newman and a young Tony Booth makes it fun for celeb-spotters. The plot itself may get a little convoluted towards the end, but that’s a minor point.
Visit www.renownpicturesltd.com for more on these films.