Two On A Guillotine (1964/Warner Archive DVD)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: D Film: C+
Conrad was one of the great character actors, but he was also one of the great
voices of entertainment, from radio dramas, to overall narration to having a
solid, clear actor’s voice that served him well and helped make him on of the
most enduring performers in Hollywood history.
What many do not know is that the star of Cannon was also a director and
an interesting one at that. Besides many
TV shows, he made three feature films for Warner Bros. in the 1960s and Two On A Guillotine (1964) is the
try and cash in on Hitchcock’s Psycho
(1960) and Aldrich’s Whatever Happened
To Baby Jane? (1962), we get a semi-dark black and white thriller with big
name stars (some who would usually never make such films or be “caught” in such
a genre) and for about ten years or so, many such derivative films tried to
cash in. Here, eccentric stage magician
Cesar Romero (just before more mega-success as The Joker on the Adam West TV
hit Batman) beheads his wife and
assistant and dies. This leaves his
young daughter in a bad way, but when Cassie grows up (now played by Connie
Stevens, then best known for her hit TV show Hawaiian Eye before her many game show and comic TV appearances)
inherits the big family home and something is very wrong there.
by Val (Dean Jones before his Disney family film streak), he actually is a
reporter trying to get a story, but becomes more interested in Cassie as he
gets more involved than he expected.
Then things become more and more bizarre.
screenplay was co-written by Henry Slesar (the original Twilight Zone, Alfred
Hitchcock Hour) and John Kneubuhl (The
Screaming Skull (1958)) so they knew the tone and the genre, but the film
does not pay off, some of it does not work and the actors do not always cohere
in their interplay. Still, Conrad pulls
off some moments of suspense and the film is so unusual for reasons no one
could have imagined while making it, it is worth a look for al serious thriller
fans. There are also enough interesting
moments that it never becomes boring.
enhanced 2.35 X 1 black and white image was shot in real anamorphic 35mm
Panavision by Sam Leavitt, A.S.C., (A
Star Is Born (1954), Shock Treatment,
Major Dundee) and features fine
compositions and depth throughout, though in this DVD-R format, has softness
not from the print. The Dolby Digital 2.0
Mono can show its age and some compression, but it is a newer transfer and is
still good for its age despite the lossy codec.
There are no extras.
order the film exclusively on the
WarnerArchive.com site at:
- Nicholas Sheffo