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Brooks and Paige head an unusually strong cast of veteran character actors in the Poverty Row movie BLONDE ICE. In a role that could easily have been taken over the top, Brooks plays the sociopath with passionate restraint. Paige, who appearance here is evidence to the downward track his career was on, plays the poor love-struck sap with a sensitive touch.
True to its Poverty Row heritage corners were cut and money was saved at almost every turn. There aren't a lot of expensive tracking and dolly shots, and you'll notice the same curtains in Les's apartment, in a lawyer's office and hanging off the windows in a room holding an election night party.
The cast is filled with veteran character actors who'd either fallen off the A-movie list or were on it only as bit players. Nobody strays too far out of their comfort zone in this one. For instance, Emory Parnell plays police Capt. Bill Murdock. In the 250 movies he's credited with appearing in, Parnell almost always played the cop, good or bad (in this one he's a grouchy good one.) The only non-veteran in the cast is James Griffith, who plays newspaperman Al Herrick, a friend and co-worker of Claire and Burns who smells a rat a little earlier than anyone else.Read more ›
One of the most interesting things about this film is the possibility that noted B director Edgar Ulmer (Detour, Bluebeard, Strange Illusion) may have written the script for the film under its original title, Single Indemnity. The intent, no doubt, was to play off the huge success of the A noir Double Indemnity, released four years earlier. But the releasing studio didn't cotton to this blatant title rip-off and threatened suit. Hence the title change to Blonde Ice.
This is a compact little film, clocking in at around 74 minutes. The DVD comes with some nice extras. Aside from a short description of the Edgar Ulmer connection, there's film restorer Jay Fenton, who's interviewed about film restoration and who supplies both the liner notes and a commentary on the film. There's a bonus very early TV noir episode, "Into the Night"--very creaky. An even wackier extra is some big-voiced crooner singing "Satan in Satin", no doubt inspired by this film. There's bios and filmographies of the cast and crew. And there's even a postcard showing our heroine dolled up in a bathing suit in a cute pose, circa the '40s.
This is not a strong, compelling film noir like Murder, My Sweet or Double Indemnity. But it's worth having as one of the premier B noirs for those, like me, who're noir fanatics.
Blonde Ice was thought to be in that category until film restorer Jay Fenton, working with VCI, put together two prints that he discovered. Each was significantly damaged, but when the good parts of each print were combined a single print in good condition was created. This process, along with many other stories, are told by Jay Fenton as special features on the VCI version of Blone Ice.
The film itself will not make anyone, even hardcore B-Movie noir buffs, forget Double Indemnity, but it is one of the better movies to come out of poverty row in that era. Leslie Brooks is perfectly cast as the title character, and the story is fairly well written and directed (considering the miniscule budget that the movie had).
As to which version of Blonde Ice to buy, I've got to recommend the VCI version. They spent the time and money with Jay Fenton to restore the movie, and it was an investment well spent as their DVD of Blonde Ice is truly something special. You will not find a better print of Blonde Ice available (or even one as good), and the extras on their DVD are worth the price of admission alone! (By the way, I am NOT on the VCI payroll, I just believe in rewarding and crediting those who go above and beyond the call...)
If you're a B-Movie fan, a film noir fan, or just curious about Hollywood's poverty row studios of the 1940's you should definitely check out VCI's Blonde Ice DVD (and skip this version from Alpha/Gotham).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Perfect low budget, high noir trash wallow - Leslie Brooks commits 100% - I couldn't count how many times I've watched this film! Read morePublished 15 days ago by Scott Brinson
This was a good movie I enjoyed seeing it.
Once again I love classics and the black & white as always beautiful.
I won't give away anything on this movie. Read more
picture awful...not worth my time...so watched PITFALL instead...much better...nit all Film Noir/Pre code are as interesting as thought to be... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Steven M Bogarat
This is a great movie and my favorite of the Noir movies - The intro is done like a Jimmy Stewart movie and starts out innocent enough until you notice Claire has a way of... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mark and Kathy
CLUMSY THROUGHOUT. HOW IT GOT A 5 STAR RATING IS A MYSTERY.Published 9 months ago by George Mansfield
LAME NOIR ! ! !.............If your looking for some good Noir this isn't it. If your reading this you probably have seen all the best and all the very good Noirs already. Read morePublished 10 months ago by g
Good film noire, I liked it. It had enough going on to keep my attention.Published 11 months ago by Justin Case