Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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Snappy little thriller starring Jimmy Lydon (of "Henry Aldrich") fame.
Not the best Ulmer film but it's amusing. It's a twist on Hamlet which is nicely stylized.
Worth a watch. Watch it at night by yourself, not because it is scary (though it has a nice mood) but because no one will want to watch it with you. It gets Fruedy in a bit of a Sirky way. I have no idea why it's called Strange Illusion.
Can't trust psychiatrists.
When I saw that this was a cheapie noir directed by Edgar G. Ulmer with no-name actors, I had high hopes for another Detour. Alas, no. A kind of Hardy Boys-ish mystery that's really no mystery at all, with lousy acting (especially by Jimmy Lydon in the lead), very few surprises and an overbearing score. Not to mention some instances of sexism (oh those gullible women!) and racism, thankfully somewhat mild. The one really unusual thing about it is that it all centers around a premonition, as Lydon's dreams come true. This really turned me off... I'm not interested in the paranormal when it comes to my noir. A couple of interesting touches (like the villain having a weakness for raping young ladies) but not enough to save the rest of it.
He sounds like a subject for some mental analysis
A young man has issues with his mother's new boyfriend. Initially, he finds the man peculiar; however, with some additional research, he discovers the boyfriend may be a cold blooded killer. When the young man tries to convince others of his findings, he is locked away in an insane asylum. A close friend tries to help the young man prove his case.
"The boy came home unexpectantly."
Edgar Ulmer, director of The War of 1995, Hannibal (1959), Escape if You Can, Prisoner of Japan, and The Shocking Truth, delivers Strange Illusion. The storyline for this picture is well done and reminded me of several Hitchcock films. The acting was better than average and the cast includes Jimmy Lydon, Warren William, and Sally Eilers.
"I'd like to see some of those old ghost towns."
Strange Illusion is part of a Thriller box set I received for Christmas the year before last. I found this picture fascinating and well delivered. This seemed to be an early version of the recent Step Father movie that was released in 2009. I recommend giving this film a shot.
"The dream is beginning to happen."
The opening dream sequence is kind of interesting with overlapping shots. It didn't occur to me until after skimming other reviews here on Flixster that the plot of the young man worried about his mother's new dangerous fiancé has its source in Hamlet. I suppose it does contain that influence, but toward the end it feels a bit like Scooby-Doo with the meddling teenagers. Ulmer, the director, does seems to make the most of the low budget, but some of the performances, primarily the main character Paul and his buddy George, lack refinement. Warren William as the soon to be father-in-law, Brett Curtis, has a great face for this type of suspicious and evil character.
like detour, strange illusion was probably made with the spare change in edgar g. ulmer's pockets. unlike detour, strange illusion lacks the substance of real noir and comes across as something not really worth watching
Ulmer's noir adaptation of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" (though a very loose) is benefited from a dream like atmosphere but is hindered by a weak script, poor performances, and low production values. Interesting to see how much Ulmer could do on such a tight budget but a better example would be Ulmer's "Detour" (1945).
Strange Illusion (aka "Out of the Dark")
Starring: James Lydon, William Warren, Sally Eilers, and Regis Toomey
Director: Edgar Ulmer
A college student (Lydon) is suspicious of the man (Warren) his widowed mother (Eilers) is about to marry. Evidence mounts that the boyfriend may actually be a shadowy serial killer who has been eluding police for years... but is the "evidence" merely coincidences that are being exagerrated in the young man's jealous mind, or is his mother truly in danger?
"Strange Illusion" is a thriller with sinister villians, and an interesting plot that's part Shakespeare and part Hitchcock. It's also got an unsual hero for a crime drama--young college kids weren't typically the protagonists in these sorts of films from the 1930s and 1940s--although that's another similarity to both Shakespeare and Hitchcock's films that this one exhibits. The dialogue is well-done, and the performances by the actors are all decent enough.
Despite all those positive points, this film is far from perfect. It could have benefitted immensely from another script rewrite or two before filming wrapped.
Our hero's suspicion of his mother's new love arises from a recurring dream he has. In fact, most of the increasingly damning clues he finds also originate with the recurring dream. I don't have the feeling the film is implying the young man is psychic, but that instead the clues are somehow being delivered to him by his subconcious mind. However, the dream reveals things to him that he couldn't possibly have known, subconscious or otherwise, and this overuse of the plot device drags the movie down to the point where it almost slips to the lower end of average. Then there's a few bits of sloppy filmmaking--such as when the vantage point upon a scene viewed through binoculars changes dramatically between two uses to look at the same spot from the same location--that don't exactly help to enhance the film's quality.
Nonetheless, this is an unusual entry in the thriller/film-noir genre, and it's worth a look. It's no "The Black Cat" ([URL=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/journal_view.php?journalid=245672&entryid=279976&view=public]review here[/URL]), which is Ulmer's horror/thriller masterpiece, but it's decent enough.
(I also think that William Warren plays one of the slimiest characters I've yet to see in a movie. Whether or not he's the serial killer Our Hero believes him to be--and I won't say that he is, because I try not to spoil movies in this space--he is definately a Bad Guy who no-one would want to see their mother marry!)