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June 14, 2016

Hidden Fear

hidden fear poster.jpg

Andre De Toth - 1957
KL Studio Classics BD Region A

Probably the clearest indication that John Payne's time as a star of modestly budgeted action films was over can be seen in the posters for Hidden Fear. Not only is starlet Anne Neyland featured prominently, but is seen in a couple of suggestive poses not even in the film. Similar to Peter O'Toole being "introduced" in Lawrence of Arabia, disregarding several previous big screen roles, Ms. Neyland had been kicking around Hollywood for five years. 1957 turned out to be Neyland's banner year with featured roles also in Jailhouse Rock and the American International programmer, Motorcycle Gang. After that, Neyland went back to guest spots on television series for a few more years. The cheesecake promised in the Hidden Fear posters is barely fulfilled with a suggestive shot of Neyland in silhouette against a window, and a couple shots of her cleavage while in conversation with Payne in the Danish countryside.

Payne is mostly seen scowling his way, an American cop trying to clear his mousy sister who's been accused of murdering her boyfriend. It turns out that the guy's been part of a ring of counterfeiters. The sister's best friend is an American girl, played by Neyland, who also happens to be the occasional mistress to one of the ringleaders, played by Conrad Nagel. Alexander Knox is the guy who behind the counterfeit plates, an unrepentant ex-Nazi seeking revenge by creating two million dollars in fake Alexander Hamiltons to damage the economy of the U.S. and several European countries. The film takes place in Copenhagen, although I suspect it could have been filmed almost anywhere.

Anne Neyland is superficially attractive, no more so than several other young or youngish actresses of the day. More viewers will probably be infatuated with the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL that Neyland drives, later seen with Payne behind the wheel in a high speed chase seen through Copenhagen and beyond. The gull wing sports car is the real sexy co-star here.

Payne's journey into Copenhagen nightlife briefly indicates the Americanization of Denmark with a scene at the Texas bar, with a band playing a kind of variation of western swing, while at the Gold Digger bar, Payne walks into a crowd dancing to rock and roll.

De Toth wrote Hidden Fear with John Hawkins. Some of the same themes appear as in previous De Toth films, such as the main character being assumed guilty by a mob of citizens, as when Payne is chased though the streets of Copenhagen after being seen with a murder victim. There are a number of high angle shots, and shots of the characters by windows, visual motifs used frequently by De Toth.

While not credited, one of the cinematographers of Hidden Fear was Henning Bendtsen. Listed in IMDb and also, more critically, confirmed in the Danish Film Institute database, Bendtsen had also filmed the English language film film, Escape from Terror, starring Jackie Coogan, the first Danish film in color. Bendtsen also served as cinematographer for Carl Dreyer, ending his career with Lars von Trier.

hidden fear poster 2.jpg

Posted by peter at June 14, 2016 03:45 PM