Caper With A “Man Bait”

The 1952 Man Bait is the first British film noir for Hammer (Brit)/Lippert (U.S.), and a tasteful, civilized film noir it is.  But most certainly there is heinous behavior:  killings and a near-killing most foul.

Actor George Brent, an American, is not very good, but Peter Reynolds is; and Diana Dors, in her first movie, is passable.  Brent plays Dors’s boss in a bookshop, whom Dors is talked into blackmailing by Reynolds, Dors’s new beau.  Dors is, or becomes, nearly as morally awful as Reynolds, and she soon alienates the cad.  A mistake.  Gradually a fellow bookshop employee (Marguerite Chapman) gets entangled in the dreadful affair.

Directed by Terence Fisher, Man Bait is a not-bad, not-boring caper movie.  Based on a story by James Hadley Chase, though low-budget, it was promising for the Hammer/Lippert association, especially with its likable cast.  I’m glad all British films are not like O Lucky Man! (a dismal dud).

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