Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema XV [Man Afraid / The Girl in the Kremlin / The Tattered Dress]
Directed by Jack Arnold, Harry Keller, Russell Birdwell
This collection features three film noir classics. MAN AFRAID (1957) – Noir greats George Nader (Six Bridges to Cross, Appointment with a Shadow) and director Harry Keller (The Unguarded Moment, The Female Animal) come together for Man Afraid, a heart-stopping CinemaScope noir about a preacher ensnared in fear. When Reverend David Collins (Nader) and his wife Lisa (Phyllis Thaxter, Act of Violence) catch a burglar in their son’s room, the ensuing struggle ends with an injury to Lisa’s eyes and David unintentionally killing the thief. The Collins struggle with the resulting publicity, David’s own conscience, Lisa’s temporary blindness…and the burglar’s vengeful father (Eduard Franz, Cyborg 2087) who begins to stalk their son Michael (Tim Hovey, Queen Bee). The tense revenge-noir Man Afraid features a score by the great Henry Mancini (Touch of Evil). THE GIRL IN THE KREMLIN (1957) – Moscow, 1953. Four terrified women prisoners are brought before Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who picks the beautiful Dasha and proceeds to punish her by shaving off her long, black hair. Moments later, a plastic surgeon leads Stalin into an operating room and transforms his face into something new. So begins the story of the world’s greatest conspiracy: The Girl in the Kremlin, a harrowing Cold War noir starring Lex Barker (The Price of Fear, The Girl in Black Stockings) and Zsa Zsa Gabor (Touch of Evil, Picture Mommy Dead). When Stalin alters his appearance, fakes his own death and vanishes, ex-O.S.S. agent Steve Anderson (Barker) and Lithuanian refugee Lili Grisenko (Gabor) lead the manhunt across Europe. Directed by Russell Birdwell (The Come On) and featuring Maurice Manson (The Creature Walks Among Us) in a chilling performance. THE TATTERED DRESS (1957) – In this CinemaScope film noir from director Jack Arnold (The Incredible Shrinking Man, Man in the Shadow), top lawyer James Blane (Jeff Chandler, Red Ball Express, Female on the Beach) is a man known to do anything it takes to win a case. But when Blane defends a socialite on trial for the murder of a bartender who made a pass at his wife, a scheming sheriff (Jack Carson, The Tarnished Angels) frames Blane for bribing a juror (Gail Russell, Calcutta, Night Has a Thousand Eyes) and exposes the hidden evil simmering beneath the surface of their quiet desert town. The Tattered Dress boasts powerful performances by its never-better cast, which includes Jeanne Crain (Man Without a Star), Elaine Stewart (Night Passage), George Tobias (Rawhide), Edward Andrews (The Unguarded Moment) and Phillip Reed (Klondike Annie).