Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tonight's Movie: The Man Who Died Twice (1958) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Rod Cameron stars in THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE (1958), which will be released on Blu-ray and DVD by Kino Lorber on November 14th.

THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE is a Ventura Pictures production released by Republic Pictures in the studio's waning days. It marked the final film appearance of Vera Ralston, wife of studio head Herbert Yates.

The movie gets off to a slam-bang start with a fiery car wreck followed by a deadly scuffle and shooting on an apartment balcony. The man who died in the wreck was nightclub owner T.J. Brennon (Don Megowan), whose estranged brother Bill (Cameron) arrives in town just after T.J.'s death. Bill had unexpectedly received a telegram from T.J. saying he was in trouble and needed help.

As for the balcony death, that scene is witnessed by T.J.'s widow Lynn (Ralston), who is so shocked by what she sees that she's hospitalized, unable to remember it all.

Bit by bit Bill and the cops (including Louis Jean Heydt and John Maxwell) piece together T.J.'s sordid past, which ties in with what Lynn witnessed on the balcony.

Meanwhile, a pair of out of town mob hitmen (Gerald Milton and Richard Karlan) arrive intent on collecting a large debt from T.J.'s widow...and T.J.'s bartender (Mike Mazurki) factors into things too; he's got an unhealthy obsession with Lynn and drug addicts pestering him for their latest hit.

THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE is what some of us call "movie comfort food," if you can give a film filled with murders and drugs that term! For me it seems like the equivalent of "cozy mysteries," and this one had me at "Louis Jean Heydt as a police captain." I love when Heydt has a nice big supporting role, and he's got plenty of screen time in this one.

Rod Cameron's reassuring presence makes him just right as the brother seeking answers. Milton and Karlan make like a cut-rate Conrad and McGraw from THE KILLERS (1946), but they're memorable on their own terms, especially in their unkindness to cats and old ladies.

The cast also includes Paul Picerni, Bob Anderson, Don Haggerty, Jesslyn Fax, and Luana Anders, playing a strung-out young drug addict.

The movie was directed by Joseph Kane, best known for his "B" Westerns, from a script by Richard C. Sarafian. It runs a brisk 70 minutes.

The excellent Kino Lorber Blu-ray print shows off Jack Marta's widescreen black and white Naturama filming. There's nothing especially flashy about Marta's style here but it's just right for this low-budget but satisfying crime film. The ability to watch a film like this in such terrific condition adds greatly to the enjoyment.

Extras consist of a trailer gallery for five film noir titles and a commentary track by Toby Roan. I haven't heard the track yet -- I plan to do that over lunch in the next day or two -- but Toby's tracks are always excellent and I have no doubt this will be of the same caliber.

Fans of "B" noir and crime films will want to get this one. Here's hoping Kino Lorber has more fun releases like this coming in the future!

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Blogger Jerry Entract said...

Great to see your review of this rare Republic film, Laura. I plan to get my copy soonest. Rod Cameron in "movie comfort food" - how can I possibly delay LOL?!!

11:14 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Jerry! It's such a treat to have a "Naturama" movie released looking so great -- love seeing a lesser-known title like this not only available but looking its best. I really enjoyed it and hope you do too!

Best wishes,

7:58 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older