"A tale of greed, murder and passion set in a French provincial town in the 1930s. The focus is a tawdry basement drinking and gambling club. Rejecting the violent advances of a man who returns to her rooms with her, a local girl kills him and is assisted in the disposal of the corpse by her regular beau - a cynical, louche cardsharp. A vigilant detective brings her to court for murder. Witnesses take the chance to blacken her name by giving false testimonies but she is acquitted. Her freedom is soured by her lover's rejection of her and she returns to the streets" East Anglian Film Archive.
"A teen-aged girl — whose imagination has been excited by murder headlines in the local paper — and a mysterious new boarder in her mother's home are the ingredients of The Man With The Box, a superlative melodrama by James L. Watson. For here is as hairraising a thriller as you could want to see. Mr. Watson tells his story through the interplay of image and counterimage, without benefit of dialog, and he tells it simply and well. Taut and well paced, the film should hold any audience in suspense-filled excitement from its quiet and clearly stated beginning right up to the shock of its logical and terrifying conclusion. The small cast has been cunningly chosen and wisely directed. The players, Cathy Moss as the inquisitive young girl and John Dowell as the strange boarder, give restrained yet moving performances, sustaining the film's mood admirably. The accompanying score not only complements the story line: it becomes, excitingly, an integral part of it. The Man With The Box returns to the first principles of the silent cinema with rewarding vitality." Movie Makers, Dec. 1952, 399-400.
"Under the able direction of Kenneth E. Carrier, ACL, a production unit of the Grand Rapids Amateur Movie Club has produced an engrossing film drama based on a short-short story from a Billy Rose column. Two Paper Cups begins as if it would tell the familiar tale of a bored husband plotting the murder of his wife for the love of that "other woman." But a double switch at the plot's end saves the life of the married woman and, with irony but without need, takes the life of the husband. Top notch photography, expert staging and lighting, good acting and skillful editing make this photoplay an outstanding example of cooperative filming at its best." Movie Makers, Dec. 1951, 410.
"Startling photography in 8mm. Kodachrome gives Harry W. Atwood's Outpost a dramatic appeal beyond the merits of its rather confused and melodramatic story. Story aside (it's a tale of murder, in which some very critical action is not adequately pointed up), Outpost deals magnificently with some of the most interesting and barren country you are likely to find this side of your nightmares. If his plot developments can become more convincing, Mr. At wood has an excellent filming future." Movie Makers, Dec. 1950, 468.
'Cup of Fear' produced and entered by the Stamford (Connecticut) Cinema Club and photographed by John Harms, is a well directed, acted and photographed 'whodunit' in which one of several office employees who have been passed up in a company promotion, murders the hapless executive promoted to the vice-presidency. A cup of wine, antidote for poison supposedly fed the murderer at a dinner, proves his undoing. All shots are interiors and save for one or two, are excellently lighted and photographed. Many professional touches, such as dolly shots, dramatic camera angles, and story-telling closeups highlight the picture. Harms used a 16 mm. Bolex camera and Kodak Super-X panchromatic film." American Cinematographer, Apr. 1950, 146.
'The Voice of the Key' is a magnificently staged photoplay, beginning with the very professional series of opening titles and featuring remarkable interior photography, considering the limited equipment at the disposal of the filmer. Charles Carbonaro, using photo-floods entirely, has achieved some truly professional illumination in his interior settings, and his camera technique displays an artist's genuine feel for forceful and dramatic story telling with a camera. The story concerns a murder of an unfaithful wife's lover by her husband, and the steps the husband takes to conceal his part in the crime, only to be tripped up by his door key as the incriminating evidence. Carbonaro used a Cine Special Camera and Eastman Super X panchromatic film. The script, which he wrote himself, was adapted from a story published in 'This Week', Sunday supplement magazine of national distribution." American Cinematographer, Apr. 1950, 133. "Great ambition and a wide knowledge of both amateur and Hollywood camera techniques mark Charles J. Carbonaro's The Voice of the Key. The film is a whodunit, involving many of the human reactions — from love and hate to cynicism, impatience and sudden passion — all of which have to be registered by the actors at Mr. Carbonaro's command. It's a large order, and the film does not quite fill it dramatically. But the good things about The Voice of the Key are very good indeed." Movie Makers, Dec. 1950, 468.
"Although there is no actual violence portrayed in this psychological thriller, Storm Due — in which a young wife discovers her husband to be a murderer — is instinct with mounting tension and terror. Francis J. Barrett's film is a potent combination of several related elements. Wedded almost as one are dramatic, hard-hitting camera angles and the visual stimulus of brilliant, low-key lighting. Acting of theatrical calibre by the young wife is accented by an off-stage voice which underlines her fears — a technique that suggests a loan from the best in modern radio. A taut continuity only hints at the story line as it hurries through this exciting evocation of violence. This very economy of dramatic exposition, in fact, will make Storm Due an unpopular and often misunderstood production. For these reviewers, however, it remains creative cinema of a very high order." Movie Makers, Dec. 1949, 454-455.
"'Ritual of the Dead,' a mystery story with some extremely gruesome sequences, carries a strong message. It conveys the idea that friends are man's most important possessions. A man murders his brother because of greed and envy—then discovers he was the only friend he ever had and realizes how helpless he is alone in the world" Richard H. Lyford, "It Gets in Your Blood," American Cinematographer, November 1938, 472.
"An honorable mention in the 35 millimeter division went to Thomas Fisher, of 410 Semple Street, Pittsburgh, Pa., for his grim and Barrymorish study of Poe's 'The Tell-Tale Heart.' Mr. Fisher played two parts, displayed no little skill in make-up and worked out an interesting, if gory, film." Photoplay, Jun. 1928, 137.
"David Bradley, the dynamic heart of Willow Films, producers of Macbeth, has behind him a long and amazing record of outstanding dramatic pictures. Among these are his productions of The Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens; Emperor Jones, by Eugene O'Neill, and Peer Gynt, by Henrik Ibsen. His Macbeth is the greatest of them all. And in a sense, this moving evocation of the brooding Shakespearian tragedy is the end product of them all — since, in it, Mr. Bradley's creative and cinematic abilities have come fully and splendidly of age. The character of this brilliant achievement may perhaps best be illumined by Mr. Bradley's own words from his plans for the film. "We realized clearly," he has written, "that the strength of our Macbeth must be found in stimulating cinematic treatment, portrayed with such angular camera compositions as to suggest the twisted, supernatural aspects of the drama. We planned our lighting for harsh contrasts and textures, so that, on occasion, the brooding menace of cold, murky stone could almost be felt. For our Macbeth was to be. above all, a movie, depending on atmosphere more than acting, 'punch' more than pomp, for its ultimate success or failure." That it has been success, not failure, is rewardingly the case." Movie Makers, Dec. 1947, 534, 536.
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