Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Marilyn - 1953 film, aka Roadhouse Girl

There are several surprising things about the shortish 1953 British film Marilyn (renamed Roadhouse Girl in the US). For a start, it's a film noir in the tradition of The Postman Always Rings Twice, but quite distinctive. And I was very taken with the fact that it was based on a play (later televised) called Marion, written by Peter Jones - the same Peter Jones who became a very well known actor in later years.

The story begins with a young man, down on his luck, taking a job as a garage hand, the garage owner being a grumpy older man played by Leslie Dwyer (best known as the Punch and Judy man in Hi-De-Hi). When we learn that the old guy is married to a pretty but discontented young blonde woman (Sandra Dorne), we rather suspect that the marriage will come under strain. An added complication is that there's a housemaid called Rosie who idolises the younger woman, and is desperate for her affection.

Before long, the inevitable happens, and the old guy is killed. An inquest rules the death to be an accident. So far so good? Well, as ever in these stories when a naive chap is ensnared by a blonde femme fatale, things don't go according to plan. The femme fatale here is selfish and not very bright rather than sophisticated in her calculations, and her lover is rather less sophisticated than, say, the doomed lovers in Double Indemnity and Body Heat.

The story zips along entertainingly from start to finish. The moral standards of the time meant that the lesbian sub-text, which might have added a bit of depth, is only hinted at, and the quality of the acting, like the script, is competent rather than dazzling. All the same, I enjoyed it.


Anonymous said...

I saw thinks yonks ago on BBC Four and liked it but recorded it again when it was shown recently on Talking Pictures TV, which seems to be everybody's favourite channel these days!

Martin Edwards said...

It's definitely a big favourite with me!