Friday, January 25, 2013

The Kraft Suspense Theatre

Here's another little gem for y'all from the stacks at YouTube.

Kraft Suspense Theatre "One Step Down" (1963)

'60s TV loved to try its hand at Hitchcockian thrillers, and this here is one of most interesting I've come across. The look is terrific, pure '60s Hitch - I can't believe it predates Marnie! It's an inversion on his classic wrong man accused of a crime story, as it's about the right woman trying to not get caught.

Stunning credits on this one: Gena Rowlands and Ida Lupino lead. Lupino is for me the symbol of strong female leads of the 1950s and Gena Rowlands the symbol of strong female leads of the 1970s, so it's great to have them united here for this brief moment in the '60s. Rowlands is stunning, I don't think I've ever seen her this young. Leslie Nielson shows up, too, back when he was still playing in dramas. 

He's alright, but the real highlight on the male end is Jack Weston, a character actor y'all probably best remember as that pain in the ass neighbor from "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street."

He's got a lot to chew on here, in a really sleazy role crackling with sexual anger.

The story is satisfying, a little slow in the middle and a little heavy-handed at the end, but at times, actually very tense. It's aided by a Bernard Herrman-lite scored composed by young "Johnny" Williams. Wonder if anything became of him...

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