Thursday, June 20, 2013

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! CASE OF THE RED MONKEY (also known as THE LITTLE RED MONKEY) starring Richard Conte (1954)

I really don't have that much to say about English moom pitchers because frankly, I find a lotta 'em quite dull. Well, at least I do the old ones from way back in the days when they'd run these movies (into the ground) incessantly on Sunday afternoon tee-vee along with equally snoozeville French, Italian, German, Swedish and Amerigan films. But thankfully CASE OF THE RED MONKEY is different, if only slightly.

Oh yeah, this film does look like it was made on an extremely cheapoid budget and that organ/piano soundtrack sounds as if it came from an episode of LIGHTS OUT. Not forgetting the dialogue which at times reminds me of something that would have ended up in the "What Not to Do" section of an ancient creative writing textbook. But even with the overall look and feel which comes off like a poverty row early-thirties mystery done twenty years later I find CASE OF THE RED MONKEY a rather engrossing film to watch, even if memories of seventies UHF television without the roll-a-sage chair and Friday Night Wrestling card commercials continue to permeate my mind.

Amerigan expat Richard Conte stars in this 'un (perhaps to draw someone into the theatre?) as a State Department agent bound on getting an Iron Curtain scientist safe and sound Over Here before the redskis get him first. Meanwhile he has to deal with not only a suspicious monkey (who's always at the scene of the assassinations of various important Free World scientists) but a passel of spies, a particularly pushy newspaper reporter, and of course the female interest who just happens to be the niece of the fellow Conte is working with.

Gotta say that the last of these things was perhaps the most needless part of the film and dragged it out a bit. I mean, when you're watching an action, intrigue and intensity-packed drama you know these romantic angles just don't work out quite like the producers thought they would have. Well, at least there weren't any "slobberin' scenes" as Beaver might have put it, perhaps because it is true what they say about the British being kinda squeamish when it came to romance.

But otherwise I can't complain...sure the flick can be slower moving than peanut-butter-laden bowels at times and needed tightened up some, but I found myself glued to the screen and even had my interest held for a longer time than everything from tee-vee shows to mooms along this caliber tend to do.

The "shock ending" involving this bratty DENNIS THE MENACE-type kid in a space suit still has me stymied a bit as to how the monkey figured into it all, but as far as nice Cold War foreign film jollies go you could do much worse'n give this 'un an eyeballing next time it pops up on your local low-powered station. Well, it sure beats anything out there you can either pick up for free or on cable, and how many times are you going to watch THE PRIDE AND THE PASSION on TMC anyway?

No comments: