A LIFE AT STAKE (Blu-ray Review)
FROM THE FILM DETECTIVE
Review by Mr. Paws😼
I remember the first time I saw the original Manchurian Candidate. This was when I mostly knew Angela Lansbury from such fluffy fare as Bedknobs & Broomsticks, Beauty and the Beast and the role she’s most-often associated with, author-turned-sleuth Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote. So her dark turn as a vindictive, conniving monster was a revelation, like learning your grandma used to moonlight as an assassin.
Of course, nobody forges a seven-decade career by playing nothing but kindly old ladies...I’d simply never seen anything where she wasn’t one.
Similarly, she’s a femme fatale in the little-seen, low-budget film noir, A Life at Stake. Angela Lansbury as a scheming sexpot? Hell, that’s like learning your grandma once posed for Playboy. Seeing someone typically associated with musicals and cozy mysteries playing a young seductress might be initially off-putting, but she’s easily the best part of the film, acting circles around her beefy-but-bland co-star, Keith Andes.
|Bourbon, She Drank.|
Running a scant 78 minutes, the movie briskly moves from point A-to-B with little muss or fuss. Lansbury notwithstanding, the performances are perfunctory and there aren’t any earth-shattering narrative surprises. Still, the story is interesting and the mountain cabin climax is fairly exciting. A Life at Stake may only be a mere footnote in the history of film noir, but it’s well made on a limited budget. At the very least, the sight of one of England’s most beloved senior citizens sexing-it-up (convincingly) is certainly something to behold.
“HOLLYWOOD HITCH-HIKERS: INSIDE THE FILMMAKERS” - The Filmmakers was an indie production company co-founded by Ida Lupino. Not very long, but it's interesting.
SUPPLEMENTAL BOOKLET - Includes an essay about Angela Lansbury and low budget film noir.
AUDIO COMMENTARY - By Jason A. Ney