The Whip Hand

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  • Thrillers
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Cut from Kremlin top brass scrutinising a wall-map of America to a holidaying reporter stumbling across an unfriendly US small town where all the fish have died and Raymond Burr eavesdrops on all outgoing phone calls. The Whip Hand progresses into such clinically clear-cut Cold War paranoia that it can hardly get through its multiple process shots quickly enough to warn that the resident Red scientists and fellow-travellers are all (gasp!) ex-Nazis; and inevitably about to destroy civilisation as we know it, unless... The delicious, delirious whirlwind of a plot affords sufficient uniquely '50s black'n'white fun to make recognition of the auteurist hand of William Cameron Menzies a decided bonus. Here Hollywood's most versatile art director/production designer (and inadequately-credited mastermind behind Gone With the Wind) manages (as director) a Hitchcockian playfulness with back-projection and wooden actors, even with the budget tying one hand behind his back. The tacky essence of B+.

Release details

Duration: 82 mins

Cast and crew

Director: William Cameron Menzies
Screenwriter: George Bricker, Frank L Moss
Cast: Elliott Reid
Carla Balenda
Raymond Burr
Edgar Barrier
Lurene Tuttle
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