STOP ME BEFORE I KILL!

STOP ME BEFORE I KILL! (THE FULL TREATMENT)

(director/writer: Val Guest; screenwriter: from the novel The Full Treatment by Ronald Scott Thorn/Thorn; cinematographer: Gilbert Taylor; editor: Bill Lenny; music: Stanley Black; cast:  Ronald Lewis (Alan Colby), Diane Cilento (Denise Colby), Claude Dauphin (Dr. David Prade), Madame Prade (Françoise Rosay), Bernard Braden (Harry Stonehouse), Katya Douglas (Connie Stonehouse), Barbara Chilcott (Baroness de la Vaillon ); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Val Guest; Columbia Pictures; 1960-B/W-UK)

“Filmed with no mystery, irritating characters and a psychology that only makes sense to a mental case.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Filmed with no mystery, irritating characters and a psychology that only make sense to a mental case. This b/w shot film is a variation on the French psychological thriller Les Diabolique (1955), but much the lesser. It’s directed and written by the former British actor Val Guest (“Hell is a City”/”The Quatermass Xperiment”). It’s too talky and discursive to be fully enjoyed even if moderately entertaining. The film is based on the novel The Full Treatment by Ronald Scott. It turns out to be a minor B film that needs more treatment to be credible.

Hotshot British international racing driver Alan Colby (Ronald Lewis, first starring role) gets into a car crash just after his wedding. After a year of trying to recover from his severe concussion, he’s left emotionally disturbed, shows obnoxious behavior and is hot-tempered. His racing sponsors pay for his delayed honeymoon with his faithful Italian wife Denise (Diane Cilento) to the French Riviera hoping the unpleasant chap will recover in more pleasant surroundings.

The ace racing driver, now retired, is filled with fears (even while slowly driving in light traffic), has had no sex with his wife since the accident and has urges to strangle her whenever he desires her.

On the Riviera, Alan meets a middle-aged vacationing bachelor psychiatrist from London, Dr. Prade (Claude Dauphin), who recognizes he needs treatment. But the hostile Alan refuses any help and the couple return to London. After an incident where Alan tries to strangle Denise instead of them making love, she convinces him to get treatment from Dr. Prade or she will leave him. The ogling shrink has fallen in love with Denise and tries drugs and autosuggestion to fool his patient into thinking he murdered his wife when she goes missing one day. In a panic, he returns to the Riviera to get help from his race driver friends living there. When he spots Denise with Prade together, he confronts them at gunpoint. The shrink fails to get Alan to believe he’s hallucinating and runs from him. Things get resolved when Alan and Denise reconnect as lovers and Prade, the supposed rational one acts irrational and becomes the odd man out. I suppose Alan is now somehow cured with the shrink out of the way and the couple resuming their long delayed honeymoon. I would just warn them to be careful when taking those shaky cable cars in the Riviera.

Even if the film is a stinker, the Riviera location shots are beautiful. It also features Hammer Film’s first nude scene, offering a quick shot of Cilento (once married to Sean Connery) skinny-dipping at the beach, as viewed from the spying Prade’s binoculars.

Hammer is not mentioned in the credits, but the production company Falcon is for business reasons–it was one of Hammer’s subsidiaries.

REVIEWED ON 11/28/2019   GRADE: C+  https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/

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