Saturday Night Cinema: Wicked Woman (1953)

ByPamela Geller on February 20, 2016
5 Comments
wicked woman

Tonight’s Saturday Night Cinema is perfect for a late night flick. Wicked Woman is sleazy noir — a wonderfully lascivious B film noir directed by Russell Rouse. Deelish!

This sleazy drama was considered quite racy during its time. It is the story of a bar maid who works for a married couple. She is involved with the husband and they are planning to run off to Mexico. Their plans disintegrate and she is blackmailed into having an affair with the local tailor. When her employer’s wife catches her embracing the odious tailor, the wife forces him to return to his nagging wife. The waitress then takes the next bus out of town.


WICK-2

Wicked Woman (1953)
At the Palace — H. H. T. NY Times, Published: March 27, 1954

By straining for steam at the expense of substance, “Wicked Woman” manages to squander some persuasively realistic upholstery. This low-budget misguided little melodrama of an adulterous triangle, accompanying the Palace’s stage program yesterday, comes from Clarence Greene and Russell Rouse. Their independent writer-director-producer unit, it will be recalled, got off to a spunky, commendable start with “The Well.”

In decided contrast to that study of flaring, racial tensions, the Greene-Rouse compass now has been unwaveringly set for some hot stuff. Consequently, an air of self-conscious tawdriness pervades this enterprise, distilling, often shaping the acting of a capable little cast, headed by Beverly Michaels, as the wicked one, and Richard Egan, her victim. On the other hand, the hard-bitten dialogue, forthright camera work and soiled authenticity of the backgrounds could hardly be improved. The result, released through United Artists, is a threadbare, unquestionably graphic tome from the confessions-type magazine rack.

Not that Miss Michaels suffers particularly. As a predatory, platinum blonde with a past, she lands in town and blandly seduces a strapping bar owner, Mr. Egan, who has hired her under the amiable nose of his alcoholic spouse. The lovers then hatch a plan to swindle the lady and flee to Mexico.

Until the scheme backfires, with a surprising lack of bloodshed, the picture suggests “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” Under Mr. Rouse’s economical direction, there is considerable suspense, as the pair sweat out bank clearance of a forgery, sidestepping the ever-present wife, played by Evelyn Scott, and racing against time.

The second-rate neighborhood bar, where about half of the events occur, is not only lifelike but alive. Messrs. Greene and Rouse, in addition, have supplied a captivatingly grubby portrait of life in a fifth-rate boarding house, complete with feuds, blackmail and open, early morning warfare over the bathroom. And the knock-down-drag-out climax, when the boarders pitch in with the battling lovers, is ugly, funny and a sight to behold.

However, the film remains a far cry from the stinging construction and passionate urgency of “Postman.” Miss Michaels (possibly under instruction), pouts, widens her eyes and walks with baffling, slow-motion angularity. Mr. Egan is manly and generally convincing, if a little too intelligent-looking to go overboard. Miss Scott and Percy Helton, as a lecherous bachelor, are sound throughout. But not, for all the impressive sharp edges, “Wicked Woman.”

WICKED WOMAN, screen play by Clarence Greene and Russell Rouse; directed by Mr. Rouse and produced by Mr. Greene; an Edward Small presentation, released through United Artists. At the Palace.
Billie Nash . . . . . Beverly Michaels
Matt Bannister . . . . . Richard Egan
Charlie Borg . . . . . Percy Helton
Dora Bannister . . . . . Evelyn Scott
Mr. Lowry . . . . . Robert Osterloh
Gus . . . . . William Phillips
Mr. Porter . . . . . Frank Ferguson

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  • fulham2014

    Wow, thanks Pam, I will watch this one, I never heard of this, but I love the noir films.

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  • Ethan Sparrow

    Really love the Saturday Night Cinemas…I check it and watch every week…brilliant…
    Also makes a nice reprieve from the onslaught of depressing, weighty headlines of the day…Thanks, Pamela…

  • EJO

    In a first, new Egyptian schoolbook teaches peace deal with Israel

    In other changes to curriculum, Mubarak’s role in Yom Kippur War is played down, content added during Muslim Brotherhood’s rule is removed

    By Times of Israel staff / February 17, 2016, 1:03 am

    The peace treaty signed between Israel and Egypt in 1979 will for the first time be taught in Egyptian schools, Army Radio reported Tuesday.

    The station said a reporter had read the new schoolbook on Egypt’s modern history, which includes a chapter dealing with the Camp David agreement.

    The peace deal is described in a matter-of-fact way, without bias or any attempt to present Israel in a negative light, the report said

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-a-first-new-egyptian-schoolbook-teaches-peace-deal-with-israel/?utm_source=The+Times+of+Israel+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=4e5527ef74-2016_02_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_adb46cec92-4e5527ef74-54850429

  • barrydonnelly

    OH, OH ! Here She Comes ! Watch Out Boy She’ll Chew You Up ! What ! even back in the early 50s ? The men in this show are portrayed as such IDIOTS !! A VERY INTERESTING MOVIE , given the historical context . MY! how the 2 W.W. must have ALTERED the SOCIAL STRATA !!!