No Orchids For Miss Blandish was released in 1948. At that time, films tended not to contain violence or sexual innuendo of any particular note
but this one had plenty of both. As a result, the critics at the time were quick to unleash howls of derision in the film's direction. "It has all the morals of an alley cat and the sweetness of a sewer" protested The Observer; "the most sickening exhibition of brutality, perversion, sex and sadism ever to be shown on a cinema screen" was the verdict of The Monthly Film Bulletin. "The worst film I have ever seen" cried the Sunday Express, while a British politician (and future prime minister) named Harold Wilson scoffed with indignation and declared that there would be "No Oscars for Miss Blandish!!"
Taking all this into account, it would be reasonable to assume that No Orchids For Miss Blandish is one of the worst films of all-time. That's certainly what I was expecting when I sat down to watch it. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be quite good! What we have here is a film that was a little ahead of its time too violent and ground-breaking for its contemporaries to stomach, but in retrospect a well-made gangster story that dares to rub the audience's face in filth and unpleasantness.
Ultra rich heiress Miss Blandish (Linden Travers) is kidnapped one night whilst out driving with her fiancée. The abduction is masterminded by a bunch of small-time hoods who want to get hold of a priceless necklace she wears, but the heist gets out of hand and several of the gang members end up killing each other. When the bloodshed is over, Miss Blandish finds herself at the mercy of opportunist Bailey (Leslie Bradley). Later, though, the much more powerful and savage Grisson gang learn of her whereabouts. The gang is ostensibly led by odious old matriarch Ma Grisson (Lila Molnar), but in reality the true gang leader is her psychopathic and much-feared son, Slim Grisson (Jack La Rue). Even though Slim is utterly ruthless and a born killer, Miss Blandish finds herself falling for his brutal charm. She persuades him to return the necklace to her father along with a note explaining that she is staying with Slim of her own free will. However, the other members of the Grisson gang start to get nervous as Slim's behaviour grows clouded by his love life, and Miss Blandish's father refuses to believe that his daughter could possibly be happy when she's shacked-up with a sadistic killer. As the odd couple prepare to run away and start a new life together, the fates conspire to ruin their dreams .
No Orchids For Miss Blandish is good stuff. La Rue plays Slim with just the right balance of toughness and elegance, while Walter Crisham, MacDonald Parke and Lila Molnar all etch memorable portrayals as the other main heavies. Travers rounds off the cast in a sexy and appealing turn as the squeaky-clean heroine who gradually learns that she likes it rough. The film is let down a little by the fact that most of the cast are British actors pretending to be Americans, complete with unconvincing accents. Also, the ease and speed with which Miss Blandish falls in love with her captor is a plot development that takes rather a lot of swallowing. But when the actors engage in their frequent snarling exchanges, and the violent action kicks into gear, this is enthralling stuff! If you thought old British films from the 1940s were all sweetness and light think again!!!
No Orchids for Miss Blandish
Crime / Drama
No Orchids for Miss Blandish
Crime / Drama
John Blandish is worth $100 million. His heiress daughter is soon to be wed to Foster Harvey, who believes she's a cold, unfeeling woman, despite loving her. Her cold emotional state is in large part due to leading a restricted life. A low level thug named Johnny overhears their secret wedding night plans, and peddles the idea of robbing her of the $100,000 worth of diamond jewelry with which she will be adorned to two groups of his gangster acquaintances, who are in competition with each other. The robbery doesn't go quite according to plan, with Miss Blandish ultimately being kidnapped and held under the eye of Slim Grisson, the heir apparent as head of the violent Grisson gang, currently run by Ma Grisson. Kidnapping holds higher risk but possible greater reward as everyone figures they can get at least $1 million for her. Ma has no plans of letting her go, killing her after getting the money. But a surprise move by Slim, who has a secret past with Miss Blandish, turns the tables ...
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June 14, 2019 at 11:23 AM