Reviews for The Girl in Black Stockings ( 1957 ) 1080p

Wanton Murder!

By: Spikeopath
The Girl in Black Stockings is directed by Howard W. Koch and written by Richard Landau and Peter Godfrey. It stars Lex Barker, Anne Bancroft, Mamie Van Doren, Ron Randell, John Dehner and Marie Windsor. Music is by Les Baxter and cinematography by William Margulies.

When a party girl is found murdered at a Utah hotel, everyone is under suspicion.

Miserable predatory creatures!

One of the definitions of the low budget drive-in movie, The Girl in Black Stockings is an odd and fascinating picture. In core essence it's a standard murder mystery piece, a sort of minor Ten Little Indians only with kooky overtones.

She'd get on that dance floor and fry eggs!

The characterisations, performed by a wide scope cast list, are firmly in the realm of the off kilter or suspiciously suspect! While some of the scripted dialogue is priceless and pungent with noirish tones. Plus there is lots of smoking going on to emphasise the noirish fever.

I'm gonna have to raise taxes to build a morgue!

The acting is all over the place, mind, with Tarzan leading the way doing some smell the fart acting, while others are overwrought in delivery of script. Yet the up and down acting fits into the grand scheme of Utah weirdo style, further accentuated by the swirly Gothic musical score.

Nutty and fruity, corny yet crisp, it's a fun experience. Plus there's Van Doren, who had to have had the widest mouth of all circa the 1950s. 7/10

Tries Hard to Escape Midland

By: LeonLouisRicci
The late 50's was a strange time for Movies. There were rumblings of an "expansion of consciousness" if you will, that resulted in attempts, like this one, to explore lurid, unmentionable gruesome violence (against Women), and sexual themes that were previously only barely hinted.

If you were paying attention, it was obvious that the Arts were becoming a more liberal expression of primal urges (Rock n' Roll) that were always there but rarely talked about in polite company. So here we have this lackluster Serial Killer Movie that was just aching to escape from Studio and Audience conventions, but alas, it was not to be.

The "grisly" Murders are very Ho-Hum, one if you can imagine, is just a guy being pushed into a swimming pool. The rest take place off screen. There is a lot of Psycho-Babble, the most scathing coming from a paralyzed hater of all Women. Some of this is slightly entertaining in a trashy kind of way, but not quite enough to save this stiff and incompetently Directed Movie.

People talk and talk and say very little. The Sheriff's investigation is basically talk and talk, occasionally on the telephone, and everyone seems to have sunstroke rendering them immobility and inability to emote.

This is a strange one at best, but at its worst is slowly paced, mostly uninteresting, and lacking any flare.

Murders at the resort

By: bkoganbing
With such shapely feminine types as Anne Bancroft, Marie Windsor, Mamie Van Doren, and Diana VanderVlis, The Girl In Black Stockings surely boasts one of the sexiest casts of women ever in the same film. If you're a leg or a breast man, you can't go wrong with this film.

As for the story it's your average B picture whodunit. All of these people are at a resort lodge in Utah when a whole lot of murders start to happen. Lex Barker while on a date with Bancroft discovers the body of the first victim. Two more murders follow and one accidental death of a presumed suspect occurs when sheriff John Dehner and deputies go to question him.

Marie Windsor has an interesting part her. A veteran of many a noir film, Windsor is the sister of her quadriplegic brother Ron Randell who owns the lodge. Many years ago Randell developed a psychosomatic quadriplegia when he could not save a woman from drowning. Windsor then dedicates her life to serving her brother. Usually Windsor played sex pots in films, this represents a change of pace for her. But don't kid yourself, she holds her own in beauty with the rest of the pulchritude.

As for Randell, he laces his part with appropriate bitterness and he'll be the one you remember if you can take your eyes off the feminine beauty for a bit.

In smaller roles are such future stars as Stuart Whitman who arrives at the lodge looking for his runaway bride and Dan Blocker seen briefly as a bartender.

The Girl In Black Stockings despite a cheap production and lurid title is a competent enough mystery. And frankly I did not see who the murderer was.

Doing my duty and warning away any who would be foolish enough to make the mistake I made

By: Gangsteroctopus
It's astounding how many reviewers here have given this either high marks for being a well-made film noir(-ish) murder-mystery, or for it's high camp value. DO NOT BE FOOLED: this movie doesn't qualify on either the level of basic competence, or on the so-bad-it's-good scale. It's just plain bad, in every way imaginable.

But let's get something else out of the way first: for those who want to claim a 'Twin Peaks' connection for this film (which is the reason I was curious about it, initially), such an assertion is basically a bunch of garbage, grasping at less than even tenuous similarities and standard murder-mystery tropes. A girl is murdered. It occurs in a small town. There's an Indian/Native American. And a sawmill. THAT'S IT. David Lynch and Mark Frost did not rip this movie off - and I say that as someone who's not even much of a 'Twin Peaks' fan.

Okay, now that we've cleared that up, what about the film itself? You know it's gonna be bad from the very first lines of dialogue exchanged between Lex Barker and young Anne Bancroft. It's the kind of meaningless, pseudo-hip banter that has zero meaning and makes you want to slap the screenwriter, tell him, "Try writing some words that sound like they might come out of the mouth of an actual human being, you hack!"

But the main problem (one of MANY problems) is that no one seems to take the murder particularly seriously. Basically John Dehner just sort of wanders around, occasionally asking locals somewhat germane questions, but mostly just gossiping, catching up on their relationship woes, chitty-chat. This dumb-a** couldn't solve the mystery of who put the cookie in the cookie jar.

And then there's the guy who owns the motel, the psychologically paralyzed (say what..?) guy who basically sits around (well, he can't do much else, I guess) spouting off some of the most hate-filled, vile, misogynistic bile that you're likely to hear outside of a lockerroom. Now, initially, you think, 'Hunh. That's something of a twist: not romanticizing this character, or trying to make him this sympathetic type' - the way they almost always try to do with pretty much any disabled person in movies and on TV, even nowadays. But after about 30 seconds of this guy, you'll change your mind and start hoping that when Anne Bancroft and Marie Windsor take him in the pool for some hydrotherapy that they'll both get phone calls and leave him to make out on the bottom with the Creepy Crawly. (Okay, I know that they didn't have those back them, but you get the point.)

Who the hell would stay at this lodge? There's a common dining room, or restaurant, and every night the customers have to share it with this wheelchair-bound a-hole, watching him get drunk and rave about how much he despises the fairer sex. Yeah, THAT's what I want for dinner theater. How did this guy get into the lodging business, when all he does is bitch about how running this inn puts him into constant contact with the very species for which he is so overflowing with hatred? Like so much in this film (just wait until you hear Lex Barker's 'explanation' for the murderer's motives at the end of the film), it MAKES NO SENSE.

And not just that - IT'S BORING! Apparently director Howard Koch told all of his actors to pause for several seconds between each line of dialogue, to savor the 'richness' of drivel they're all spouting (I've never heard so many words used to express so little); or maybe the heat or the altitude made them all punchy. It's bad enough that we, the viewers, don't care what's being said, but when the actors all sound like they're on Quaaludes...Never has 74 minutes passed so slowly, so excruciatingly.

I will say that, as someone who loves the '50s as a design era, the Parry Lodge (and the adjoining boutique, the Pink Poodle) are pretty cool to look at; the fact that they shot this stinker on location is about the only thing this movie has going for it, although it also means that the Kanab Chamber of Commerce gets in a number of blatant promos for local businesses and sights. But apart from my interest in the era, this one is a complete and total loser.

Stagnant B-movie starts off atrociously and stays there...

By: Doylenf
Whatever inspired Howard Koch to direct this B-movie was certainly not the script, full of atrocious dialog and given dead pan acting by everyone in the cast except RON RANDELL as a bitter crippled man being cared for by his wife, MARIE WINDSOR. Randell at least attempts to give some backbone to his role, but nothing works as he delivers most of his dialog through clenched teeth.

JOHN DEHNER is the sheriff at a Utah lodge, who questions suspects of a brutal murder with absolutely no conviction. He seems distracted by something or other even as the investigation becomes more complex and seems almost bored with his role.

ANNE BANCROFT and MAMIE VAN DOREN are figured prominently among the women in the cast but do nothing here that contributes to the film's effectiveness. Whatever noir material there is in the script's potential, is left untapped from beginning to end. LEX BARKER shows off his physique but was much more convincing when he was playing Tarzan than he is here.

Summing up: A complete waste of time. There's an amateurish feel to the whole thing.

Boring

By: whpratt1
Thought this 1957 film starring some very great actors would be entertaining or at least a good murder mystery. The film takes place in a Utah Mountain Lodge where there are a large group of tourists and also behind the scenes very sick people running this lodge. The manager is a man who is handicapped and taken care of by his sister who waits on him hand an foot and this man seems to hate all kinds of women and is also a mental case. One night, a girl is murdered and slashed to death with a knife multiple times and it looks like they have a serial killer on their hands. Lex Baxter, Anne Bancroft and Mamie Van Doren all add a great deal to this story with their great supporting actors roles. There are other murders and the film goes completely around in circles until you have already figured out who the killer is and you can't wait for the film to end.

Surly whodunit set in Utah; camp with a clenched-jaw...

By: moonspinner55
Unbelievable murder-mystery centering around an upscale lodge in Utah, wherein sheriff John Dehner (in a cowboy hat) investigates the gruesome slaying of a blonde actress, a "man-hating witch" who had plenty of enemies. Soon, more bodies start popping up, the main suspects being: Lex Barker as the local he-man (with his navel judiciously covered at the pool), Ron Randell as an anti-social quadriplegic, Anne Bancroft as his wet-nurse, Mamie Van Doren as a model, and Larry Chance as Indian Joe (Chance appears to believe his character is a Wooden Indian instead of a Drunken Indian). Low-budget adaptation of Peter Godfrey's short story "Wanton Murder", this B-flick might have been a hoot had it been directed with some flair. Unfortunately, Howard W. Koch (who later became a famous producer) sets up this whodunit like a plodding amateur, and most of the acting is atrocious (including La Bancroft). Van Doren has an oddly surreal tipsy scene that rates as pure camp and Dan Blocker is fun as a leering bartender (how come he isn't a suspect?), but the poor writing defeats Dehner and Randell. The title is mysteriously irrelevant, however the setting is unusual and the black-and-white cinematography isn't bad. Les Baxter's melodramatic score heightens the ridiculousness, but serious movie-lovers will only scoff. ** from ****

Interesting for the cast

By: blanche-2
"The Girl in the Black Stockings" is a B movie, and I don't give it the tremendous historical significance one of the other reviewers did. It's obviously made cheaply, and the story is awkward. Directed by Howard Koch, it has a surprising lack of pace. The stars are Lex Barker, Anne Bancroft, John Dehner, Ron Randell, Marie Windsor and Mamie Van Doren. The plot concerns murders at a resort - in fact, the film begins with the discovery of a dead body, and several more follow. Dehner plays the sheriff. The resort is owned by a man with hysterical paralysis (Randell) and his sister (Windsor), who takes care of him. There's a Barrymore-type actor preparing for a comeback with the help of a va-va-va-voom blonde (Van Doren), and several guests, including Barker and Bancroft, who apparently have some sort of history together.

The acting is okay with the exception of a very young Bancroft, who smartly underplays what could have been an extremely over the top character. Barker was very handsome and fit, but after reading that Lana Turner threw him out when she learned he was abusing her daughter Cheryl, it's hard to watch him. Most of the characters really aren't fleshed out enough to give the actors something to work with. Stuart Whitman has a small part, as does Dan Blocker, who plays a bartender.

Not great.

Um, some unusual posts for this one

By: Ripshin
Frankly, this a lame "B" flick, with hilarious dialogue, great locations and uneven performances.

To even utter the phrase "film noir," in conjunction with this film, is ludicrous. Some of the comparisons found in previous posts are mind-boggling.

Disposable characters, inane conversations and an annoying soundtrack are buffered by a wonderful setting - a kitschy, picture-perfect motel, straight out of a retro-fanatic's dream. Man, I want to stay at the "Parry Lodge" for a weekend!!

Every time actor Ron Randell opens his mouth, you know you're in for some scenery-chewing, par none. Lex Barker is, well, Lex Barker. "Sheriff" John Dehner comes across the least scathed, although as a previous comment did point out, he appears to have wandered in from another movie set.

All in all, worth a viewing, just to see what it meant to stay in a "motel" before Holiday Inn and Ramada ruined the experience.

UPDATE: Lodge is still up and running - see parrylodge.com!

One Of a Kind

By: telegonus
This late fifties whodunit has some interesting credits. It was directed by the able and eclectic Howard Koch, and features three quite different actresses in major roles,--Mamie Van Doren, Anne Bancroft and Marie Windsor. Suave character man John Dehner is cast as the local lawman; ex-Tarzan Lex Barker is the male lead; Stuart Whitman and Dan Blocker have small roles; and Barker wrote the music score. This is the only movie I have ever seen that features a murder suspect who is a bitter, woman-hating man, psychosomatically paralyzed from the neck down, who can't even pour his own drinks or light his own cigarettes. Ron Randell plays him marvelously, and had the film been directed by Ingmar Bergman would surely have won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. I wouldn't quite call this movie trashy, but it has a trashy feel to it, as it comes across in some ways as a sort of Southwest version of Peyton Place crossed maybe with Anatomy Of a Murder, the small-town black and white mood of which it strangely anticipates. Everyone in this movie has a secret. The question is, whose secret is murder? The pacing isn't strong here, and the dialog is variable. William Margulies' photography is excellent, however; and the settings,--the motel resort and small desert town--are perfectly realized. There is a nice feeling for people whose lives have fallen just short of the big time, and who are angry about it. As a result, more than in most movies, everyone seems more than capable of being a killer. I especially like the sense of isolation in the film, and with it the edge of danger. As with so many crime pictures of its era, it seems to be trying to say something about American life, and how materialism and ambition are destroying it. With its acerbic invalid in one corner, and its muslceman in the other, and all the beautiful women gallivanting about and making life miserable for everyone, this one, with sharper writing and a sense of the absurd, might really have risen and become an Antonioni-like commentary on the American Dream. As it stands, it doesn't come close, though some of its characters and images linger in the mind long after its over.

Tailfins-era whodunit wastes a bizarrely mixed cast

By: bmacv
What can you say about a movie whose three female stars are Anne Bancroft, Marie Windsor and Mamie Van Doren? Well, that none of them is used at anywhere near her full potential (except maybe Van Doren, the sum of whose potential is exhausted at first glimpse). And that's basically the problem with this little tailfins-era whodunit about a serial killer at a Utah mountain lodge. Its very real potential is never delivered. The characters and plot strands are handled perfunctorily, mechanically; they're interesting and offbeat but not satisfyingly developed, so the solution comes as a bad surprise and something of a cheat. Owner of the lodge, Ron Randell, is a psychosomatically paralyzed woman-hater nursed by his doting sister (Windsor). Les Barker (not to be confused with Les Baxter, who wrote the score!) loses no opportunity to display his physique poolside as a vacationing L.A. attorney who's wooing the diffident Bancroft. Van Doren does her platinum-blonde bombshell shtik and John Dehner, as the sheriff, seems to have wandered in from a Western shooting nearby. The movie looks good, in a simplified, populuxe way, and winds up like a better-than-average TV drama from circa 1957. Too bad: The Girl in Black Stockings had all the makings of a more interesting movie.
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