The Whip Hand (1951)

Article 3460 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-26-2010
Posting Date: 2-3-2011
Directed by William Cameron Menzies
Featuring Carla Balenda, Elliott Reid, Edgar Barrier
Country: USA
What it is: Espionage thriller

A reporter on a fishing trip becomes suspicious of a small town and its secrets, and decides to investigate. And the rich eccentric on the outskirts of town has something to hide…

Of the three science fiction films made by William Cameron Menzies during the fifties, this is the least interesting, partially because the plot is pretty weak and partially because the fantastic content (a super-virus) is more of a Gizmo Maguffin than anything else. It does have an interesting history, though; IMDB lists that Bobby Watson (who made something of a career of playing Hitler) originally appeared in the movie, but his scenes were deleted. That’s because producer Howard Hughes decided that the original villains of the movie (Nazis) should be changed to communists to make it more relevant, and the movie was extensively reshot. The movie has an appropriate sense of paranoia, but it overuses it to the point that it gets fairly tiresome and starts to seem far-fetched. It also lacks the visual sense I usually associate with Menzies films. All in all, I found this one a disappointment.

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