I was pretty curious about these two films based on a series of popular radio plays. It’s been a top notch run so far, but this was the first night this year that just didn’t do it for me at all.
The Whistler is an anthology series, mystery thrillers with twist endings and a shadowy whistling narrator. Although most of the films starred Richard Dix, he plays different roles in each one. In Power he’s an amnesiac trying to reconstruct his identity using only the items found in his pockets and in Voice he’s a lonely, dying tycoon who makes a strange business deal with a sexy nurse.
Both of these movies were far too corny and overwrought for my taste. They felt very dated and came off as unintentionally funny, though not quite funny enough to qualify as full on cult or camp. One minute I’m cracking up over the prospect of the two mains sitting down for a minute in the back of a stranger’s parked car (“Oh, I’m sure they won’t mind.”) and the next the guy’s murdering a little girl’s kitten with his bare hands. Quite an odd ride, these two flicks. I liked the first marginally better than the second, but I could have easily taken a pass on both of them.
Tonight it looks like we’re back on track with a Femme Fatale double bill; Strange Fascination and The Come On. I’m really looking forward to this one, especially The Come On, which stars Sterling Hayden, one of my favorite leading men. Sadly this will be the grand finale at the LA Film Noir Festival.