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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 (albeit disputed) Film Noirs that's more of an early Cold War Political Thriller, directed by his CANYON PASSAGE and the previous years' CURSE OF THE DEMON auteur Jacques Tourneur: a suspenseful programmer where the plot's spelled out quick, economically... 

Having returned from being a tortured POW in Communist North Korea, and suffering sporadic fainting spells, Dana's Alan Eaton returns to Washington D.C. where his business partner has died, somewhat suspiciously, and their business is taken over by some "pretty big fish with a bad smell" according to his senator friend, 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 a Bed & Breakfast owned by mouthy/muscular thug Kelly Thordsen with a promiscuous, fatale-like wife Veda Ann Borg: And eventually everything falls into b-movie place with young sympathetic love-interest Marilee Earle, secretary of main boss Dick Foran... the latter who's both shady and sophisticated, the perfect rival to Dana's wholly honest businessman who had proficiently ran this same Statistic-Research firm, that's since become a hot-bed for political corruption... 

Which isn't entirely clear as the underlying theme is non-political, equally catered to both patriots and those fearing Washington's backroom wheeling/dealing; 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 Dana's 1950's tense yet understated presence ala LAURA and FALLEN ANGEL is back in gear, tight and calculating as ever, but the real surprise is musician icon Mel Torme as the most ambiguous, perhaps even the most ambitious character: A nerdy, awkward numbers-guy doing "drone" work for the villain, he's smitten with the secretary 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 Thordsen
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 Thordsen
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS w/ Dick Foran, Kelly Thordsen, 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 Thordsen
Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS
Marilee Earle and Dana Andrews in THE FEARMAKERS
Dick Foran and Kelly Thordsen in THE FEARMAKERS
Jacques Tourneur's last great movie THE FEARMAKERS

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