TORMENTED (director/writer: Bert I. Gordon; screenwriters: George Worthing Yates/story by Bert I. Gordon; cinematographer: Ernest Laszlo; editor: ; music: Albert Glasser; cast: Richard Carlson (Tom Stewart), Susan Gordon (Sandy Hubbard), Lugene Sanders (Meg Hubbard), Juli Reding (Vi Mason), Joe Turkel (Nick Lewis, The Blackmailer), Lillian Adams (Mrs. Ellis), Gene Roth (Mr. Nelson, lunch stand operator), Vera Marsh (Mrs. Hubbard), Harry Fleer (Frank Hubbard), Merritt Stone (Clergyman); Runtime: 75; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Bert I. Gordon/Joe Steinberg; Allied Artists; 1960)
“Though it’s passable entertainment, the ghost story developments are too ridiculous to be even considered real possibilities.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
B-film low-budget director of schlock Bert I. Gordon (“The Amazing Colossal Man”/”Earth vs. The Spider”/”Attack of the Puppet People”)unimaginatively directs a ghost story based on his story and it’s co-written withGeorge Worthing Yates. Though it’s passable entertainment, the ghost story developments are too ridiculous to be even considered real possibilities. It’s let down by its miserable story line and unsympathetic protagonist, who must deal with his low-life ex-lover coming back as a ghost to haunt him.
Set on a secluded California resort island, the concert jazz pianist Tom Stewart (Richard Carlson) has rented a cottage to prepare for his upcoming concert tour and plans to soon wed wealthy society girl Meg Hubbard (Lugene Sanders). Meg lives on the island with her cute 8-year-old sister Sandy (Susan Gordon, the director’s daughter) and businessman father and mother (Harry Fleer & Vera Marsh).
Hanging out at an abandoned lighthouse, Tom is paid a surprise visit by his ex-flame, Vi Mason (Juli Reding), a sultry nightclub singer, who cut a record singing Tormented. Vi threatens to show his fiancée the love letters he wrote her and vows she’ll do anything to stop his marriage plans. Tom in anger shoves her and she falls over the broken railing, and when she begs him to pull her to safety he allows her to fall into the sea below.
The next morning the guilt-ridden Tom believes he sees Vi’s body wash up on the beach, but her body turns to seaweed. In the week before the marriage, Tom is tormented by the body parts of Vi turning up as tormenting visions, Vi’s disembodied head warns him in her own voice not to marry someone else, her ghost steals the wedding ring he bought and several other fantastic ghost sightings take place. Also Tom’s puzzled that he’s the only one who sees the ghost, which drives him mad. Later a creepy boat operator, Nick (Joe Turkel), who brought Vi to the island, figures out something funny is going on and tries to extort $5,000 from Tom for his silence. In a panicky moment, the jazz pianist murders the blackmailer but discovers little Sandy witnessed it.
REVIEWED ON 10/29/2012 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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