Friday, 9 November 2012


‘Blackout’ is cheap, but never nasty. The story has all the hallmarks of classic noir – a man stumbles upon a murder purely by coincidence – with an interesting twist, i.e. the witness is blind and, considered harmless by the murderers, gets socked on the head instead of being shot. After an operation to restore his sight (it would have been so much better if the bang on the bonce had done it) he decides to track down the killers and bring them to justice.

Reed feels his way around.

'What's this? having a lie down, mate?' 
The film stars b movie star Maxwell Reed, part Cary Grant, part Del Boy Trotter. Reed plays blind well: quiet, nervous, cautious. He’s also really tall and slim and, because he is rather timid, this seems even more noticeable and he looks gawky and vulnerable. When he accidentally (via the classic noir device of simply going to the wrong address) gets caught up in a a smuggling ring that settles issues with a knife, he panics and starts crashing about, although he is fairly cool when confronted by the killers. Once he has the operation and can see again, he reverts immediately to his usual persona (smarmy, brash, uber confident lounge lizard / sex pest) starts strutting about and posing in doorways, and brashly gets it all sorted and snags a girlfriend over the course of forty minutes and about two hundred cigarettes.

I've always liked the word 'bandages'.

Eyebrow seconds from arching.

The marvellous Eric Pohlmann, perennial foreign rotter.

Not Dinah Sheridan. Great hair, though.

Nice Noir visuals.
The film is flatly and hastily shot for the most part, but occasionally pitches the shadows well enough to evoke the hidden world that the lead character finds himself adrift in – although, as an ex-blind man, he finds comfort in the darkness, especially when trading gunfire with the villains.    

Apart from Reed, it was nice to see shady continental Eric Pohlmann and top lurker Michael Brennan as the nastiest and most capable heavy. Dinah Sheridan is the love interest, but she’s clearly too nice and polite for Reed, so I don’t expect it be too long before she starts noticing Revlon on his collar and matches from night clubs in his pocket, the lanky cad, or am I perhaps reading too much into what is, essentially, an entertaining but throwaway b-movie?  

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