Friday, 6 July 2012

Blind Corner (1963)

From producer Tom Blakely (ISLAND OF TERROR, NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT) and director Lance Comfort (DEVILS OF DARKNESS) comes this brief but very effective noirish 1960s British B movie featuring a number of faces familiar to fans of BritHorror of the 1960s and 1970s.
William Sylvester plays Paul Gregory, a composer of novelty pop records. He has a luxury penthouse apartment, a beautiful wife, and a fabulously successful career. He is also blind. His wife Anne (Barbara Shelley) begins an affair with artist Ricky (Alexander Davion, later to appear in Robert Hartford-Davis’ INCENSE FOR THE DAMNED), using his painting of a portrait of her as an excuse for their trysting. Things swiftly take a darker turn as Anne suggests to Ricky that the only way they can both be together and enjoy Paul’s fortune is if somehow her blind husband takes a plunge off the balcony of their top floor apartment.
The story doesn’t turn out the way anyone expects, and there’s a twist about ten minutes from the end that I absolutely didn’t see coming. What really makes BLIND CORNER a success, though, is its combination of some good performances (Barbara Shelley makes a superb cold-hearted, manipulative bitch of the first order), decent direction, and most of all a very good script, loaded with cruel dialogue and some unnerving scenes, most notably one where Shelley and Davion are openly and overtly affectionate right in front of the blind Sylvester who can’t see what they’re up to. 
The cast also includes Elizabeth Shepherd (TOMB OF LIGEIA, DAMIEN - OMEN II) as Paul’s secretary, and Mark Eden (CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR)  as the head of Paul’s recording studio. There are a couple of musical numbers courtesy of ‘special guest star’ Ronnie Carroll to pad out the running time, the second accompanied by the kind of dance routine you just don’t see anymore. The print that’s available on Odeon Entertainment’s Region 0 DVD is a bit scratchy and jumpy at times but is otherwise reasonably clean for a pretty obscure item.
BLIND CORNER was a complete surprise, recommended to me after I revealed that I hadn’t seen any of the films of its director Lance Comfort, despite his final picture, DEVILS OF DARKNESS having been a television regular when I was a lad. I recently caught up with it and while it's competent it's nowhere near as good as BLIND CORNER, which may well turn out to be this particular director's finest 74 minutes.

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