Hey folks, Valkor here. And I welcome you to TOV's "30 in 30", where I'll review 30 unique film and maybe some not so unique, all in 30 days. What's cool for most of the flicks, is that I know nothing about em. So this should be a real treat not just for you guys, but for me as well. Good or bad, this is gonna be a fun month. It all starts today July the 4th and ends on Aug the 3rd. Can I make it through? We'll know soon enough!
For part seven of my feature, I dabble in the confines of Warner's Archive Collection and dust off a gem that's truly classic - Two on a Guillotine.
Two on a Guillotine stars Connie Stevens playing dual roles – first she plays wife/mother/ and assistance to Duquesne Melinda. Duquesne himself (played my Cesar Romero) is a great magician, but after one of his tricks fails and Melinda vanishes, he dies, but many years later. This is when Stevens switches roles to play as Cassie the daughter of Melinda and Duquesne who returns home after 20 years to attend her father's funeral. Dad was quite the eccentric and even setup a special funeral for himself – A glass coffin, wrapped in chains. According to his business manager Buzzy Sheridan (Parley Baer), he wanted this done so that it wouldn't make his return too easy. You see Duquesne plans on rising from the grave. He leaves his entire fortune to his daughter as he considers her the mortal link for his spiritual return. He only has one stipulation – she stay in the house for seven days; and if she does that she'll get everything plus daddy dearest. Upon entering the house things start to go crazy, such as a skeleton sliding down a wire. Luckily she doesn't have to face this "haunted house" alone as reporter Val Henderson (Dean Jones) to help her out. But the catch is Cassie doesn't know that he's a reporter and she opens up to him… in more ways than one. With one incident after another, we get to the final day and the rise of Duquesne and soon secrets from the path are revealed as well him performing his final act.
You know, from the box art of this DVD, I expected something very… hmmm…. How should I put this? Art house in style. Something of a film that would be a lot of imagery and nonsense dialogue. Imagine my surprise that we get this amazing film.
Two on a Guillotine has a lot going for; for one thing, it's an amazing thriller loaded with suspense and scares – some that will jump right out at you and also the overall feel of the film is creepy. It definitely keeps you on your toes. The plot is simple yet amazing, what a great story and something everyone can relate to because you've have to have seen a film/cartoon/series episode that followed along the same plot of one staying in a spooky house for a night or two just to collect an inheritance (an episode of Futurama and one of Family guy come to mind right off the top of my head). I enjoyed the acting of Connie Stevens and Dean Jones; the two actors work amazingly well together, it's as if the two weren't really acting, but were two close friends enjoying the moment. Connie is just super cute; loved how accent even though it fades in and out. But Dean Jones is like James Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life" without all the problems; just happy go lucky. Break out hit and wished they could have stayed in the film a bit longer goes to Connie Gilchrist as housemaid Ramona. She's a hoot as soon as she hits the scene. It's just too bad that as quick as she came in, she goes out just as fast. But she does leave a lasting impression on ya. But another surprise for me is Cesar Romero. For those that don't know, Romero played the Joker in the Adam West version of Batman, so it's a nice change to see him play as something not as maniacal as the Joker. Finally the film has been digitally remastered for audio/video quality and I must say it looks amazing! Yes there are some grain and some video noise, but nothing that will make you lose focus. And audio quality is clear; most involves dialogue anyway, but one scene particular stands out... actually two. One the sound of the breathing and two, when Cassie plays the music piece... beautiful!
There's some pacing as things tend to slow down a bit. Sure it builds suspense, but not always.
Two on a Guillotine is the latest in the Warner Archive collection and much deserved as its truly a classic that's a must see; it's a film that loaded with suspense, thrills and chills and with two great actors in Stevens and Jones, it has some serious charm. I highly recommend checking this one out. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give Two on a Guillotine 4.5 stars and it's been Valkor tested, TOV Approved!