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JACQUES TOURNEUR'S 'THE FEARMAKERS' WITH DANA ANDREWS

Title: The Fearmakers Year: 1958 Rating: ****

THE FEARMAKERS is Dana Andrews' peak as a dramatic lead, and, circa 1958, is one of the last genuine Film Noirs while serving as an early Cold War Political-Paranoia Thriller (a decade after Dana's THE IRON CURTAIN); directed by his CANYON PASSAGE and the previous years' CURSE OF THE DEMON auteur Jacques Tourneur, this is a kind of suspenseful programmer where the plot's spelled out quick, economically... 

Having returned from being a tortured POW in Korea, tortured by Communists and suffering sporadic fainting spells, Dana's Alan Eaton returns to Washington D.C. where his business partner has died, suspiciously, and their business taken over by some "pretty big fish with a bad smell" so Dana has to investigate, completely from the inside...

Basically providing Tourneur a low-budget one-office setting, not counting a few restaurants and perhaps the best sequence inside an apartment/B&B owned by mouthy/muscular thug Kelly Thorsden and promiscuous, fatale-like wife Veda Ann Borg, and eventually everything falls into b-movie place with young sympathetic secretary/love-interest Marilee Earle of main boss Dick Foran... the latter both shady and sophisticated, the perfect rival to Dana's genuinely proficient businessman who'd ran this same Statistic-Research firm with precise honesty, and has since become a hot-bed for political corruption... 

Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS

Which isn't entirely clear as the underlying theme is kind of half-baked, preachy, including shots of the Lincoln stature to suit all patriotic tastes: Which is how THE FEARMAKERS suits both those firmly backing America and those not completely trusting the behind-the-scenes wheeling/dealing; which are teased just enough for the plot-line, all part of an efficient Late Noir where Andrews, after basically skating through (while literally drinking through) two Fritz Lang media-centered Noirs, might not look so great physically... 

Yet his 1940's old school heated intensity is back, as tight and calculating as ever, even usurping his breezy (yet effective) CURSE OF THE DEMON performance. But the real surprise is musician icon Mel Torme as the most ambiguous, perhaps even the most ambitious character: A nerdy and awkward numbers-guy doing "drone" work for the villain, he's smitten with the girl hence extremely jealous of our hero: caught perfectly in-between as a sublime scene-stealer. 

Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Dick Foran
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Kelly Thorsden
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Veda Ann Borg
Marilee Earle in THE FEARMAKERS
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Mel Torme
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Marilee Earle
Mel Tomre and Dick Foran in THE FEARMAKERS
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Marilee Earle
Mel Torme in THE FEARMAKERS with Marilee Earle
THE FEARMAKERS with Marilee Earle
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Kelly Thorsden
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS w/ Dick Foran, Kelly Thorsden, Mel Torme
Mel Torme in THE FEARMAKERS
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Dick Foran
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Marilee Earle
Marilee Earle in THE FEARMAKERS
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Mel Torme
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Oliver Blake
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Dennis Moore
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Marilee Earle and Dick Foran
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS with Veda Ann Borg & Kelly Thorsden
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS
Marilee Earle and Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS
Dick Foran and Kelly Thorsden in THE FEARMAKERS
Jacques Tourneur's last great movie THE FEARMAKERS

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