GIRL IN THE BLACK STOCKINGS, THE (director: Howard W. Koch; screenwriters: Richard Landau/based on the story Wanton Murder by Peter Godfrey; cinematographer: William Margulies; editor: John F. Schreyer; music: Les Baxter; cast: Anne Bancroft (Beth Dixon), Lex Barker (David Hewson), Mamie Van Doren (Harriet Ames), Ron Randell (Edmund Parry), Marie Windsor (Julia Parry), John Dehner (Sheriff Jess Holmes), Diana Van der Vlis (Louise Miles), Stuart Whitman (Prentiss), Gene O’Donnell (Joe Felton), John Holland (Norman Grant), Larry Chance (Indian Joe), Richard Cutting (Dr. Aiken), Gerald Frank (Frankie Pierce), Norman Leavitt (Amos); Runtime: 76; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Aubrey Schenk; United Artists; 1957)
“To its credit, it’s several notches above the standard exploitation drive-in fare that flooded the theaters in the late fifties.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Howard W. Koch (“Jungle Heat”/”Shield for Murder”) directs this adequate minor mystery story. It’s based on the story Wanton Murder by Peter Godfrey and the screenplay is by Richard Landau. It doesn’t make too much sense, but its slight story is well-played by the capable cast. To its credit, it’s several notches above the standard exploitation drive-in fare that flooded the theaters in the late fifties.
Los Angeles hunky lawyer David Hewson (Lex Barker, a former screen Tarzan) is vacationing at the posh Kanab, Utah, lodge (filmed at Lake Tahoe) owned by the embittered and self-loathing Edmund Parry (Ron Randell), who is confined to a wheelchair because he’s a paraplegic. He taken care of by his devoted but over-protective sister Julia Parry (Marie Windsor). While David is necking with sweet lodge employee Beth Dixon (Anne Bancroft), they discover on the lodge grounds the mutilated body of Marcia Morgan, a lodge guest. No-nonsense Sheriff Jess Holmes (John Dehner) investigates and everyone at the lodge becomes a suspect. The murder weapon lodge kitchen knife is found by one of the employees, Indian Joe, the local drunk. Soon a visiting private detective from back east, Joe Felton (Gene O’Donnell), who checked in after the murder, is found drowned in the pool and that is followed by the slashing death of Los Angeles model, always seen clad in revealing tight-fitting outfits, Harriet Ames (Mamie Van Doren). Now that we have a maniac serial killer on the loose, the sheriff uses police procedural methods to track down the elusive killer but not before there’s one more killing of a beautiful woman.
The B-film had a certain kookiness that plays well to an audience that can appreciate its digestible mix of sex and violence, and it’s campy enough to make its lurid murder mystery come alive.
REVIEWED ON 3/23/2007 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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