Monday, October 19, 2015

Tonight's Movie: No Man's Woman (1955) - An Olive Films DVD Review

Marie Windsor stars as NO MAN'S WOMAN (1955), which will be released on DVD and Blu-ray by Olive Films on October 27th.

Windsor's Carolyn is a bad, bad, bad woman in this entertaining crime melodrama. In one of the more surprising lines of this 1955 film, one character says of Carolyn "That woman is a witch!" and another replies along the lines "No matter how you spell it!" I sputtered with laughter.

Carolyn's estranged husband (John Archer) wants to marry a nice girl (Nancy Gates), but Carolyn won't give him a divorce, despite the fact that they've been separated for two years. Morever, Carolyn is having a fling of sorts with her business partner (Patric Knowles), a reporter whose career goes south when his paper finds out he's had a conflict of interest, boosting Carolyn's art business in his columns without disclosing their relationship.

Despite having both her husband and partner dancing to her tune, Carolyn can't resist also going after Dick (Richard Crane), the fiance of her assistant Betty (Jil Jarmyn). Carolyn schedules Betty to work and then goes out with Dick on his yacht herself -- ultimately threatening to blackmail him if he won't take her to a dance a few days later! When Betty finds out Carolyn spent hours with Dick on his boat, she's heartbroken.

Needless to say, a lot of people are upset with Carolyn...and then late one night she's shot dead. Fortunately Dt. Lt. Colton (Louis Jean Heydt) is on the job, aided by Det. Sgt. Wells (John Gallaudet) and their boss, Capt. Hostedder (Morris Ankrum).

There are no particular surprises in the movie; I easily pegged the murderer almost as soon as the crime was committed. The fun is in watching a group of familiar actors doing their thing, starting with the flamboyantly naughty Marie Windsor, who seems to be having the time of her life doing everybody wrong, without a care in the world.

Whether she's demanding half her husband's income plus $300,000 cash in order to grant him a divorce or threatening her sweet assistant's fiance with blackmail unless he agrees to be her boyfriend, Windsor makes quite a splash; she's so evil she verges on the cartoonish, but who could not be entertained by Windsor? And while a certain amount of energy goes out of the film when she dies, she certainly seemed to have it coming to her!

Knowles and Archer are both a bit stolid as two of the men in Carolyn's orbit, but Heydt breathes life into the last section of the film as the cagey detective. He's always fun to watch, and he has a nice big role in this picture, which made it a lot of fun for me as a Heydt fan.

Another fun aspect of the film is that Carolyn's studio was filmed on location in Westwood. It's identified in an Images of America book on Westwood as the Harrison Patio Building at 1129-1131 Glendon Avenue. That's just a couple blocks behind the Hammer Museum, where I attend UCLA movie screenings; in fact, I'll be there tonight! Based on Google Street View, the building seen in the film is still there today, six decades later. There are photos at the locations blog I Am Not a Stalker.

NO MAN'S WOMAN is a Republic Pictures film which was directed by Franklin Adreon from a screenplay by John K. Butler. The supporting cast includes Douglas Wood, Percy Helton, Fern Hall, and Paul Bryar.

The Olive Films DVD is a nice widescreen black and white print, filmed by Bud Thackery. The shooting style is for the most part fairly flat and brightly lit -- not much in the way of noir shadows here -- but the DVD print is crisp and sharp-looking. There are no extras.

I had a good time with this one. Those who like the cast and a fast-moving little crime drama should enjoy it too.

Thanks to Olive Films for providing a review copy of this DVD.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, can't wait to see this one which I have never heard about till now. Thanks so much for your review. Always like to see Marie Windsor in a leading role.

12:35 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

One of those little movies that's a fun watch for someone who likes this type of film. Let me know what you think when you catch up with it. :)

I drove past the location of Windsor's studio last night but it was too dark to photograph. Next time I'm there during the day I'm going to walk over from the Billy Wilder Theater and take pictures!

Best wishes,

11:32 AM  
Blogger KC said...

This sounds great! I love Marie Windsor. I just saw her in Salem's Lot. She played a landlady and I think she was supposed to be frumpy, but she still looked fabulous. You couldn't make that woman look bad!

10:00 PM  
Blogger Andy Wolverton said...

Great review - hope to pick this one up soon!

7:11 AM  

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