Review for Model for Murder
‘Model for Murder’ is another in a seemingly endless string of obscure British film releases from the fine folk at Network in cahoots with Studio Canal. Whilst the quality of the content of these releases is wildly variable, , the quality of the transfers has for the most part been quite exceptional for such slight releases. Despite the DVD only format, ‘Model for Murder’ looks very good indeed. Whether you think it’s a film worthy of 70 minutes of your time is another matter. I’m suggesting it is.
Slightly wooden and tokenistic American actor Keith Andes, B-movie legend Michael Gough and horror icon Hazel Court feature in the cast of this short late 1950’s B-feature heist thriller set against the elegance and glamour of the West End fashion world.
David Martens (Keith Andes) plays an American Merchant Marine officer who, having docked in Liverpool, has made his way to London to track down his late brother’s girlfriend, model Diana Leigh (Julia Arnall).
Meeting a fashion design assistant, Sally Meadows, who happens to be visiting the same cemetery as him on the same day, the two quickly become friends and she becomes his guide to the fashion world and a path to track down and meet his brother’s ex-fiance.
Meeting that night at ‘The Jamaica’, a club frequented by members of the fashion world, they soon find themselves embroiled in mystery, intrigue and murder. It seems that Diana’s boss, Kingsley Beauchamp (Michael Gough), has ordered his two dodgy cohorts, Costard (Edwin Richfield) and Podd (Alfred Burke), to steal a valuable diamond necklace from the company safe.
Diana is still wearing a valuable and distinctive dress she’s been modelling and knows that it’s a complete no-no. But when she goes back to the showroom to replace it she disturbs the robbery and, recognising one of the crooks as her bosses chauffeur, she’s murdered with a knife.
David Martens sees the body through a window and forces his way in, only to be knocked out by the crooks. Seeing an opportunity before them, the crooks frame him for both the murder and the theft. With Sally helping him, he manages to escape from jail and sets our to prove his innocence by finding out who the real killers are. There is an exciting end scene at London airport (a bit less busy back in the day) where finally he is able to prove his innocence.
It’s an OK-ish thriller that will help pass 60 minutes relatively painlessly, but the real joy is in having an opportunity to see a little-known, never aired British B-movie way past its original air date.
The brand-new transfer from original film elements, in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio, is far better than you imagine it ought to be but then it was a film that probably aired once and got archived quickly thereafter with little opportunity to get worn out. Whatever the case, it looks great.
In common with other Network releases it comes with some very welcome promotional materials on PDF as well as an image gallery.