Sunday, July 6, 2014


There's truth in the advertising for the British film noir BAD BLONDE (1953). The film does indeed star a blonde, Barbara Payton, and she is a bad girl, although it's not clear if the appellation refers to her onscreen persona or her real life and tragic career.

This is another B noir produced by Hammer studios. It's pretty standard, routine stuff. A young boxer (Tony Wright) falls for the wife (Payton) of his manager (Frederick Valk). They conspire to kill the older man with Wright doing most of the dirty work. But when a guilt stricken Wright threatens to go to the police, Payton poisons him. Yep, she's bad all right.

Barbara Payton had a short film career. She starred in a total of 15 films between 1949 and 1963 but her off screen escapades attracted far more attention than any of her film appearances. She had multiple lovers and husbands, dallied with drugs, alcohol and prostitution and had more than one run in of her own with the law. She died in 1967 at the age of 40, a tragic, self destructive, washed up and forgotten former star. Pity. She was an attractive woman and a fairly competent actress. She's far and away the best thing about BAD BLONDE (by the way, that's the U.S. title of the film, in Great Britain it was entitled THE FLANAGAN BOY and who would pay to see a picture with that title?). But other than Ms. Payton, there's really not much to see here. Move along kids, the show's over.

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