Tuesday evening's double bill at the Noir City Film Festival teamed two rarely seen films from Universal Pictures, FLESH AND FURY (1952) and OUTSIDE THE WALL (1950).
Both films were screened in brand-new 35mm prints.
OUTSIDE THE WALL was the lesser of the two movies, yet it was still highly enjoyable, thanks to a good cast in an interesting, fast-paced story.
Richard Basehart plays Larry Nelson, pardoned after spending 15 years in a Philadelphia prison for an accidental death he caused as a teenager. Soured on big city life by his initial experiences outside the prison walls, Larry uses his prison experience as a medical assistant to obtain a job at a country sanitarium.
Larry has no interest in doing anything which would land him back in prison, although a mercenary blonde nurse named Charlotte (Marilyn Maxwell) causes him to want some quick money so he can attract her interest. Another nurse, Ann (Dorothy Hart, seen last weekend in TAKE ONE FALSE STEP), proves herself a true friend to Larry, and he even opens up to her about his past.
Larry has unexpected new problems when a deathly ill crook, Jack Bernard (John Hoyt), becomes a patient at the sanitarium. Bernard had recently stolen a large sum of money, and a gang of crooks including Garth (Harry Morgan) want to know where it's been stashed. Garth will stoop to some pretty unpleasant techniques in order to find out what he wants to know.
It had only been five years since Maxwell sparkled as Ruth in MGM's BETWEEN TWO WOMEN (1945), but the 29-year-old actress looks a bit worse for the wear here, and the impression isn't helped by her unpleasant character. She stands in stark contrast to lovely Dorothy Hart, who's very appealing in this film. What a treat to see Hart in not one but two movies in the Noir City festival!
This was one of the last films in which Joseph Pevney acted; he plays an obnoxious orderly. Pevney appeared in several film noir titles, most notably appearing as Jack Oakie's trucking partner in THIEVES' HIGHWAY (1949). He began directing the same year OUTSIDE THE WALL was released; his credits included the first film of the night, FLESH AND FURY (1952). He also directed a film showing Wednesday night, MEET DANNY WILSON (1951).
The cast also includes Signe Hasso, Mickey Knox, and Lloyd Gough.
Don't blink when Larry and Ann visit a roadhouse; it registered with me that the waitress was Peggie Castle right about the time she exited the picture!
OUTSIDE THE WALL runs a crisp 80 minutes. It was written and directed by Crane Wilbur and filmed in black and white by Irving Glassberg.
This would make a great double bill paired with another film about an ex-con, TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY (1951).
OUTSIDE THE WALL is not available on DVD. As with other films seen in the festival, we'll hope for a future release.