Tag Archives: crime thriller

Badlands

Deadly movie by Terrence Malik, Badlands (1973) starring Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek among others.

It is loosely based on the true crime spree by Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate in 1958. This one is more or less the same. Kit (Martin Sheen) is a garbage pick up worker and Holly Sargis (Sissy Spacek) a 15 year old girl in South Dakota living with her father.

Kit meets Holly and falls in love with her instantly. He meets up with her father and asks for favours. The old man refuses to have anything to do with him and tells him off. He returns later and kills her dad and they burn the house to look like an accident. Both Kit and Holly escape and their spree starts there, killing so many people wantonly.

Lot of rides later they end up in Montana and a deadly car chase follows in which Kit is caught, after Holly goes with the police. Dramatization of the story is quite superb, with awesome photography and cinematography, this one is a cult classic.

Both Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek lend credence to their roles quite admirably. Sissy Spacek lends her voice over to her part in the movie. Holly had his own sense of self importance in the world like the murders were a show off for his talents. In the end he gives away his various things like pen, and comb as souvenirs to the police officers.

Terrence Malik has kept the interest alive in the movie through his taut direction.

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A Taste for Death

An Adam Dalgliesh thriller, P.D. James has given ample time to this narrative about the murder of an ex-Minister and a tramp in a church vestry. Apparently it looked like a murder cum suicide but Adam finds tell tale signs at the scene of the crime, which makes him believe it is likely a double murder. He has Paul Massingham and Kate Miskin in his team, first time that he has a female detective in his team. Adam is up against the minister’s mother Lady Ursula, a colourful personality in her younger days, but now crippled and Barbara Berowne the widow of the minister, a sinister and devilish kind of person. There are multiple sub plots with the minister himself having a dubious past, Barbara’s brother comes repeatedly into the house, the house itself is about to be sold off, whole lot of characters involved, any one of whom could be the murderer.

James takes a lot of time detailing every experience from the architecture of the place, to the background of the character, their past, the clothes they wear, their facial features etc. in each she dwells long paragraphs on it. Ultimately Adam gets around to a possible train of events that takes place on the day of the murder, but they get lucky when they find the coat button in the church money box. It is only when they finally land on that physical evidence that things start moving fast to a thrilling but unfortunate climax. Goodreads 4/5

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They Call it Murder

A 1971 murder mystery involving a possible insurance scam. I watched this movie only because the story was written by Erle Stanley Gardner, the famous crime writer of that era. Doug Selby is a D.A. in Madison County investigating a possible crime when a body is found near a pool in a large sprawling house. The house had Jane Antrim staying there with her invalid father in law and her mother had just come in to visit her. Jane’s husband Brian Antrim had apparently died of an accident a couple of years ago and there was suspicion regarding that. An insurance investigator was following that case smelling a rat. One thing leads to another bodies start piling up, A sanctuary for the alcohol relief persons is involved with the Dr. of that place doing something murky. Selby is on the right track when he interviews an actor who had stayed in the same sanctuary around the time that Frank Antrim, the father in law had been there for treatment.

Nice fast paced movie with lots of action, not any great stars, but riveting sure enough. Gardner doesn’t disappoint his fans with his novels and here also there are plenty of thrilling stuff.

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City of Missing Girls

A 1941 American film starring John Archer, Astrid Allwyn among others. There is an unknown city in which girls are going missing from time to time. Assistant D.A. James Horton (John Archer) is investigating the case with the help of veteran policeman Mac MacVeigh (H.B. Warner). Meanwhile city reporter Nora Page (Astrid Allwyn) has something going for the D.A. while at the same time robustly publishing the crime stories. A couple of girls go missing or dead while suspicion lays on King Peterson (Philip Van Zandt) who is owning the Crescent School of Acting, which is being used as a front to recruit girls for the night clubs around the country. There are shady deals going on and Peterson is involved in several gambling outfits as well. Meanwhile Nora Page’s dad is also somehow involved in the shady dealings. All come together in a climax. Not a greatly complicated story with too many twists and turns. Rather a simple, nice, clean story with a nice ending of course.

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