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The Flanagan Boy

Bad Blonde

UK 1953
produced by
Anthony Hinds for Hammer/Exclusive, Lippert Pictures
directed by Reginald Le Borg
starring Barbara Payton, Tony Wright, Frederick Valk, John Slater, Sid James, Marie Burke, Selma Vaz Dias, Enzo Coticchia, George Woodbridge, Bettina Dickson, John Brooking, Joe Quigley, Roy Catthouse
screenplay by Guy Elmes, Richard H.Landau, based on the novel by Max Catto, music by Ivor Slaney

Hammer noir

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Fun fair boxing promoters Sharky (Sid James) and Charlie (John Slater) discover John Flanagan (Tony Wright), a genuine boxing talent, and soon enough hook him up with big time boxing promoter Giuseppe (Frederick Valk), the nicest of men, who invites all three of them to stay in his house and prepare for Johnny's first professional fight ... so everything should be just great - except for the fact that Giuseppe has an attractive wife, Lorna (Barbara Payton), who is much younger than him, and she and Johnny take an immediate dislike into each other.

But instead of ignoring this fact, Giuseppe tries to make them reconcile - the fool - and soon enough Johnny and Lorna not only start liking each other, they also start an affair, cheating on Giuseppe whenever they can. Before long, Lorna tells Johnny she is pregnant from him - and right before his first fight too, which Johnny loses as a consequence, much to the dismay of Giuseppe, who then wants to throw Johnny, Sharky and Charlie out ... until Lorna tells him she is pregnant (without of course telling him who the real father is), which gets Giuseppe in a much better, softer mood, and he invites everybody to stay after all.

Soon enough, Lorna starts plotting the murder of her husband, with Johnny being a vital part of her plan. Johnny, the good guy, refuses, but an attractive woman like Lorna always has ways to persuade men ... and so one day, Johnny drowns Giuseppe - who cannot swim - in a lake nearby´and even manages to make it look like an accident. The police has no problems believing this, but Giuseppe's mother (Marie Burke), who came all the way from Italy for her son's funeral, soon spots the guilty party, and she also senses that Lorna isn't really pregnant. She doesn't go to the police though but confronts Lorna and Johnny with her suspicions ... and Johnny soon enough starts to break up and he wants to turn himself (and Lorna) in. Lorna of course can't let this happen, so she poisons him and makes it look like suicide. But Sharky has seen through her charade long ago, and when he sees dead Johnny, he manipulates the evidence so that it looks like the murder it actually was ...and Lorna, who becomes totally unhinged in the end, is taken away by the police ...

Sharky and Charlie meanwhile return to staging prizefights at fun fairs, always scared that they one day once again will discover a talent like Johnny.


One thing up front: The Boy Flanagan/Bad Blonde is no masterpiece. But that aside, it's a competently made British film noir in the mode of James M.Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, and as that it works very well and shouldn't disappoint any serius film noir fan. And Barbara Payton makes a good femme fatale. The only real letdowns of the film are Frederick Valk's a bit too ham performance of Italian Giuseppe and Tony Wright's disappointingly pale male lead. But that's not enough to sink the movie.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD