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John Chard
Wanton Murder! The Girl in Black Stockings is directed by Howard W. Koch and written by Richard Landau and Peter Godfrey. It stars Lex Barker, Anne Bancroft, Mamie Van Doren, Ron Randell, John Dehner and Marie Windsor. Music is by Les Baxter and cinematography by William Margulies. When a party girl is found murdered at a Utah hotel, everyone is under suspicion. Miserable predatory creatures! One of the definitions of the low budget drive-in movie, The Girl in Black Stockings is an odd and fascinating picture. In core essence it's a standard murder mystery piece, a sort of minor Ten Little Indians only with kooky overtones. She'd get on that dance floor and fry eggs! The characterisations, performed by a wide scope cast list, are firmly in the realm of the off kilter or suspiciously suspect! While some of the scripted dialogue is priceless and pungent with noirish tones. Plus there is lots of smoking going on to emphasise the noirish fever. I'm gonna have to raise taxes to build a morgue! The acting is all over the place, mind, with Tarzan leading the way doing some smell the fart acting, while others are overwrought in delivery of script. Yet the up and down acting fits into the grand scheme of Utah weirdo style, further accentuated by the swirly Gothic musical score. Nutty and fruity, corny yet crisp, it's a fun experience. Plus there's Van Doren, who had to have had the widest mouth of all circa the 1950s. 7/10

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