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Written by / 3/31/2019 / No comments / , , , , , ,

JOHN PAYNE IN PHIL KARLSON'S VISTAVISION NOIR 'HELL'S ISLAND'

Mary Murphy and John Payne in HELL ISLAND Year: 1955
Much lighter, more efficient b-movie mainstream entertainment than the John Payne and director Phil Karlson's more edgy, driven and well known 99 RIVER STREET and especially the intentionally claustrophobic KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL...

John Payne and Phil Karlson's HELL'S ISLAND borrows from the adventure genre in its set-up of a Las Vegas bouncer sent to the title Spanish location to find a ruby, and it's rather confusing since we begin with Payne's character telling his story (and thus the overall narration) to a cop and then, during the flashback of getting the assignment we go back, again, as he discusses two time lapses at once... or something: But things get rolling, slowly but in an interesting fashion, once the mission's underway, and one that, despite the title, doesn't have a lot of danger in store for our hero, whose main problem is getting back in touch with the dark woman (with light hair) who had broken his heart...

HELL'S RATING: ***1/2
And this is where the Noir element pours on: The sappy heart leading the otherwise tough guy around as he goes to various locations to gather clues in what becomes less of a plot and more a Fog of Love resulting in what's Payne and Karlson's weakest effort although...

This seems as intentional as a great band inserting a breezy ballad between two intense rockers (although this is their last collaboration following, in order, KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL and 99 RIVER STREET). And the look distinguishes from the other films' black and white, which of course is the Film Noir usual: This color/aesthetic is enhanced from a wonderful technology (that ranged from 1950's Alfred Hitchcock to the special effects shots in 1977's STAR WARS) known as...
John Payne attempting some humor on (or, in) HELL'S ISLAND
HELL'S ISLAND is a great movie for jukebox lovers: Here's one that looks like a robot
Another cool jukebox only the robot is so far the best of the lot on HELL'S ISLAND
Our Noir beauty ingenue Mary Murphy in HELL'S ISLAND
Well here's another jukebox for the hell of it on HELL'S ISLAND
The usual cop and antagonist chatter in HELL'S ISLAND
Not a great shot of John Payne but it's nice to see an exterior shot ala VistaVision from HELL'S ISLAND
And now some screen captures from this time a legit item being the blu ray for...
The VistaVision logo before HELL'S ISLAND directed by Phil Karlson
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