Friday, May 9, 2014

"An Engaging If Curious Genre Hybrid"

Hammer Films/Lippert Pictures.
1953. 74 minutes.
"Is this the perfect crime?"
Murder on the Final Frontier:
An engaging if curious genre hybrid, this is a patchwork movie combining Cold War espionage, a murder mystery and two love triangles in a science fiction setting—and all on the tightest of budgets. Unpretentious and fun . . .  — Sergio, TIPPING MY FEDORA (2 October 2012)
Howard Duff plays an American scientist involved with the British space program (they actually had one of those, once). His wife is having an affair with another scientist (Andrew Osborn) who is also a spy. When both wife and lover disappear, an investigator (Alan Wheatley) suspects Duff of murdering them and disposing of the bodies by placing them in a new satellite which is sent into orbit!
There's only one way Duff can clear himself: blast off in a rocket, retrieve the satellite, and bring it back for inspection. He takes Eva Bartok (heroine of The Crimson Pirate) with him.
I won't divulge the ending, but it is a twist. The film's slow pace lessens the tension, and the special effects consist largely of stock footage and a few scenes cribbed from Rocketship X-M. Definitely a case of the poster being far better than the movie—but what a poster! — Bruce Cook, IMDb

Category: Science fiction, Spy fiction, Detective fiction

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