Since people thanked me for turning them on to some obscure films that ran at half o’clock in the morning, I dug up a couple of more little gems.

Crashout 1955 had prison riot footage lifted from Riot in Cell Block 11 during the credits. Duff ( William Bendix) plotted the break out but is shot in the process. He knew of an abandoned mine close to the prison. Other prisoners got there before him. Monk (Gene Evans) Luther ( William Talman) Pete ( Luther Alder) Quinn ( Arthur Kennedy) and Billy ( Marshal Thompson) are the other prisoners. 

They want to leave Duff, but he promises them a cut of the 180K he stashed after a robbery. A couple of the men go to a gas station and report a car crash to a local doctor. Doctor Barnes ( Percy Helton) is forced to treat Duff. They tie the doctor up and leave him in the mine. Duff holds Luther back, telling him we can’t have the Doc tell the cops. Luther, a religious fanatic, goes into the mine and kills the Doctor with a rock. 

The men find a bar and send in Pete, who had taken the doctor’s hat and coat. Pete lets the others in and they take over the bar. Duff has six patrons strip so they have clothes. Two motorcycle cops stop in and talk about the bust out. Duff has the stripped men hiding upstairs and said that if anyone alerts those cops, they will kill everyone in the bar.
The cops leave, but one notices that he didn’t get his change back from the bartender. He goes back and is shot, but shoots back, killing Pete. Duff hid the money up in the mountains. They hop a train, but don’t sit together to avoid suspicion.  Billy strikes up a conversation a passenger, ( Gloria Talbot) . He wants out of the situation. Duff tells him to leave the girl alone. Billy tells him that he is just going to escort her off the train. He makes plans to meet her, but Duff sends Luther after him. Luther throws a knife into Billy’s back.

The remaining four run into a young woman , Alice ( Beverly Michaels) and her son. The force her to take them back to her farm house. Her mother is forced to cook for them. Something develops between Alice and Quinn. Quinn says that he will come back for her. Duff wants to get to the money as the weather turns to snow. Monk is rounding up supplies when he and Luther have a problem and Monk is set on fire. 

Now they are out in a blizzard. Luther, none to stable, turns on Duff ,calling him the Devil. Duff shoots him. Duff then holds Quinn at gunpoint to dig up the loot. Quinn seeks shelter as Duff takes off into the storm with the cash. Quinn sits out the storm. Morning breaks and he finds Duff frozen with the box of money. He leaves the cash and goes back to Alice.

A lot of these crime films ran in these late night time slots. Crashout is really good and the cast is a who’s who of 50’s character actors. William Bendix started acting in 1940 after the Depression destroyed his grocery business. From NYC , he had a “Brooklyn” accent and was in a ton of patriotic WWII films including Wake Island 1942, Guadalcanal Diary 1943, Johnny Holiday 1943, Submarine Command 1951 and others. A diverse actor, Bendix could do comedy and also could be a convincing heavy.

He was in the TV series Life of Riley 1953-58. The classic Blackbeard the Pirate 1952 and many TV appearances in the 50’s and early 60’s. Bendix last film was 1964’s Young Fury. He was suffering from what might have been stomach cancer. He was good friends with producer, A.C Lyles ( Deadwood). He talked Lyles into giving him a cameo as the blacksmith, which wasn’t in the original script. He died in 1964 at age 58.

Gene Evans and Marshal Thompson would battle monsters in the 50’s. Evans was in the Giant Behemoth and Donovan’s Brain. Evans stayed busy with Walking Tall 1974, Support Your Local Sheriff 1969, Devil Times Five 1974 and a lot of TV. He died in 1998 at age 75. Marshal Thompson was in Cult of the Cobra 1955, battled The Fiend Without a Face and It! The Terror from Beyond Space both 1958, First Man into Space 1959 and TV show Daktari 1966-69. He died in 1992 at age 66. 

William Talman was in Perry Mason from 1957-66. Besides Crashout, he did Big House USA 1955, Hell on Devil’s Island 1957, and a lot of TV. He was also a screen writer. When he found out that he had lung cancer, he shot a commercial for the American Cancer Society. He was the first actor to shoot an anti smoking commercial as he had been a heavy smoker. He died in 1963 at age 53. 

Luther Adler was a busy character actor who was a fixture in 50’s and 60’s TV shows. He was in DOA 1949, Hoodlum Empire 1952, Hot Blood 1956 and after that, he pretty much stayed with TV. He died in 1984 at age 81. Beverly Michaels was in Hugo Haas’s Pick Up and Girl on the Bridge, both 1951. Then Betrayed Women 1955 and Women without Men 1956. She quit acting , which was a shame because she was good. She died of a stroke in 2007 at age 78.

Die, Die, My Darling 1965 is actually a Hammer film. Shot in color, I saw it on a black & white TV after a night of drinking with a lady friend. So how can you go wrong with a title like that? Well actually you can. It’s a Hammer film with a distinct lack of Hammer. Starring Tallulah Bankhead ( man, who the hell named you?), Stefanie Powers and Donald Sutherland, it was Southerland’s 3rd horror film in two years. He had 3 roles in Castle of the Living Dead 1964. Then Doctor Terror’s House of Horrors 1965. Here ,he is slightly mentally off handyman, Joseph.

Patricia ( Powers) is in England with her fiance, Alan ( Maurice Kaufman). She wants to visit the mother of her former fiance, Stephen, who died before they could tie the not. Alan objects, but Patricia feels obligated to visit Mrs Trefoil. What Patricia doesn’t know is the old lady is a bat shit crazy religious fanatic who talks to her dead son. 

Patricia is welcomed by the odd household. Harry is the care taker, his wife, Anna is the muscle and Joseph is the gardener. Mrs Trefoil has ‘services” before dinner. When Patricia shows up wearing lipstick, she is ordered to ‘wipe that filth off your face.” Pat wants to leave, but she is “Stephen’s wife” and her keys are taken. When she objects, she is strong armed by Anna. 

Trefoil and Anna go though her clothing and Anna cuts up any red garment with a sissors. Pat tries to stop her, only to get stabbed in the shoulder. Trefoil has a gun that she threatens Pat with. To further piss off Mrs Trefoil. Patricia admits she is engaged to another man. Trefoil has her write a letter to Alan, telling him she won’t be back. She is told that if she doesn’t write it, Anna will slice up her face. 

Anna gets in Harry’s face about cheating on her. Hey, if I was married to this bitch, I’d be fucking sheep rather than her. Harry wants Patricia and will trade her car keys for a shot at the title. Patricia refuses, so Harry decides to rape her. Trefoil breaks it up, shooting Harry, then blaming Patricia for “seducing” him. 

Alan doesn’t believe what is written in the note, so he goes to the Trefoil house. He confronts Anna, but Joseph knocks him out. Mrs Trefoil is about to slice Patricia’s throat. Anna realizes that Harry has been killed, so the three try to break into the room where Patricia is being tortured. Trefoil fires a shot though the door, hitting Joseph. Alan breaks in and rescues Patricia. It ends with Trefoil getting a knife in her back.

Yeah, it’s plodding and pretty dull. I kept waiting for a payoff , My lady friend nodded off and I wish I had too. Die, Die, My Darling was a weird sub genre of batshit crazy old women causing mayhem. Starting in 1962 with Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte and Straight Jacket both 1964, and Berserk ! 1967. Three of these films featured Joan Crawford. A short lived horror magazine, Shreik! , had a contest as to who was the best “Horror Hag”.

Stakeout on Dope Street 1958 was another oddball film that I haven’t seen since half O’clock in the morning in the early 60’s. It has the Dragnet type of narration as that show was a big hit. Two cops have picked up a drug dealer when they are ambushed by two thugs. One cop and the dealer are killed, a satchel is tossed into the bushes. Before the hoods can retrieve it, other cops arrive with guns blazing.

Now the credits roll. Julian ( Jonathan Haze) finds the satchel and brings it to his father’s store where his two buddies, Nick (Steven Marlo) and Jim (Yale Wexler) are hanging out. The bag has ladies cosmetics and a big Quaker Oats looking can of white powder. They split up the cosmetics and throw the can in the garbage. 

The two thugs are called before the boss and are chewed out for losing the drugs. He gives them three days to find it. So now you have both thugs and vice cops on the hunt. The missing drugs make the papers, Nick and Jim read about it, then go find Julian who tells them he tossed it. The trash had been picked up, so they drive to the city landfill. Ok, time to put our sense of disbelief on hold.

Ever see a real landfill? And what are the odds of finding something the size of a coffee can while bulldozers churn up the area? Slim and none, but the threesome root though the trash and find it. They know there’s money to be made, but Jim isn’t really down with selling it. Nick says he knows an ex junkie, Danny, who could maybe help them. Well Danny is anything but an ex junkie. Nick takes a sample by pouring a pile of dope on a piece of a torn paper bag.

They take the sample to Danny ,who agrees to move it for them. After they leave, Danny cuts himself out a nice pile of dope and wraps it in another piece of a torn paper bag. I guess that was the preferred mode of packaging dope back in the 50’s. After the first payoff, Danny tells them just to send one guy to drop off the dope and pick up the cash. Jim goes to pick up the cash, but hangs out asking Danny about being an addict. 

Danny goes on a long dissertation about just trying it, then doing it everyday. He say he got caught while “on the mooch”. A lot 50’s slang for dopers used here. We see him behind bars ,sweating it out. Then he is put on a stretcher and taken to an institution where he has to go “cold turkey”. that means kicking the habit with no help. We see Danny sweating the dope out of his system. After this conversation, and a confrontation with his girlfriend, Kathy (Abby Dalton)  Jim wants out. 

The two thugs find out that Danny is selling their dope. They beat the shit out of him when he denies it. Nick shows up to get paid and gets the same treatment. Julian goes looking for Nick and finds him bloodied. The two grab Julian and make him call Jim at gun point. Jim tells Julian that he’s giving the dope to the cops. The thugs drive Julian to his father’s store where the dope is stashed. Julian sees Jim leaving and yells for him to run.

Julian gets pistol whipped, then they chase Jim to an industrial area. Julian calls the law. Jim climbs a ladder into a maze of tanks. The thugs yell for him to drop the can to them. One climbs after him, so Jim dumps the dope into his face. Great scene as the thug is turned white . The thug starts shooting at Jim. The cops arrive and grab his partner. The dusted thug shoots it out and is killed. 

Nick is in the hospital and Jim & Julian are taken away by the cops. The fade out is on the dead mobster covered in dope. The film paints a grim picture of 50’s drug use. Oddly none of the three teens are compelled to try it. They are more into what money selling it can bring. This was director Irvin Kershner’s fist feature. He would go on to direct The Empire Strikes Back, Never say Never Again and Robo Cop 2. He died in 2010 at age 87.

Machine Gun Kelly 1958, I know I covered this film in a previous issue, but I saw it in a late night slot. It is one of Roger Corman’s most respected films. It also may have had a few things going on that kept it from being shown at prime time. Morey Amsterdam had huge balls playing an openly gay character, Fanny. It was his first film. The character Apple (Richard Devon ) hinted at a possible rape of captive nanny , Lynn ( Barboura Morris). 

Dick Miller was originally cast in the lead role, but writer, R. W. Campbell, was tailoring the script toward his actor brother, William Campbell. Corman, to avoid problems, gave the role to veteran heavy, Charles Bronson. Bronson played the role as a heavy, but had a complete fear of death and dying. That fear causes him to freeze during a robbery, causing the death of one of his gang.

The film has a great cast, Susan Cabot, Jack Lambert, Wally Campo, and Frank DeKova. Bronson would work with DeKova again in The Stone Killer and Run of the Arrow. Bronson shows his range of acting here as a tough guy with a yellow streak. He’s a complete bully egged on his girl , Flo ( Cabot) , who would leave him in heartbeat if she found a better meal ticket. AIP released the film on a double bill with The Bonnie Parker Story. When Bonnie and Clyde ( 1967) became a huge hit, AIP re-released the double bill to cash in on it.

Gunfighters of Casa Grande 1964 was made the same year as Fistful of Dollars. It had ‘name “ American star, Alex Nicol in the lead as Joe Daylight. Joe has won this ranch, Casa Grande , in a poker game. He tells his men that he used their money from a bank robbery to buy the ranch. We had seen Joe burying that money. When one of the gang objects, Joe shoots him. Crossing land bordering his new ranch, they get into a couple of shootouts with their neighbors. 

Arriving at the ranch, Joe is now Don Jose something. Joe is a cocky bastard and has four men, Traveler, Doc, The Laughing Kid and Henri. Joe and his boys show off their gun skills to their fellow ranchers. The bad guy here is bandit, Rojo (Aldo Sambrell). Joe suggests that they combine their herds of cattle for safety’s sake. Joe confindes to Doc that he intends to steal the 15,000 head of cattle.

We also have some hot , Euro babes playing Mexican ladies. One won’t cooperate with her husband to be and is getting whipped when Joe rides up and stops it. Gitano ( Diana Lorys) becomes Daylight’s girl. Henri, who is a killer and kind of rapey, gets into a fight with The Kid over a maid that the Kid likes. 

Rojo’s men attack the ranch and all but three are killed. Joe wants a meet up with Rojo. Joe tells Rojo that he will split the herd with him. Rojo says he has 400 men, but will make the deal. Henri gets drunk and waits for the Kid’s girl to leave church. Henri rapes the girl, off camera. The Kid kills Henri. Joe is gunning for the Kid when Traveler tells Joe you have to go though me first.

Joe’s men are getting tired of his ways, especially Doc. Doc, who has a drinking problem, gets loaded and wants to kill Joe. Joe seems happy to oblige , but the others calm Doc down. The combined ranches round up all the cattle and set a trap for Rojo. Rojo rides into the trap and is gunned down by Joe. The rest of Rojo’s men ride off. 

Doc is taking care of the wounded. Joe gets in his face. Doc says he is done and says , loudly, that’s he’s not helping Joe steal the cattle. Joe shoots him in the back. Traveler calls him out and beats Joe to the draw. Joe hits the ground. His girl cries saying she loved him. The film ends with Traveler and his girl kissing.

I had seen the Dollars films I’m thinking in 1968 as they always seemed to be playing. TV Guide would list the country of origin after the film’s title, so when I saw this was Italian, I wanted to check it out. MGM produced it, the director was Roy Rowland and it was shot in Mexico. Alex Nicol is taller than anyone else in the film. He was in five Branded women, 1959, an Italian co production. He stayed overseas working in Italy. As Joe Daylight, he is an arrogant SOB. Nicole directed and starred in the shlock classic, Screaming Skull in 1958. He died in 2001 at age 85. 

The other interesting character, Doc, was played by Australian radio comic, Dick Bentley. Doc is the more moral member of the group. This was an odd bit of casting, but it worked. Something about this film stuck with me. Maybe it was the names of the characters ,which were a bit strange. It’s not a bad film, but it drags at times. 

Dog Eat Dog 1966 was another West German film that ran at 3am. This one starred Cameron Mitchell and Jayne Mansfield. Three thieves rip off a million dollars in US bearer bonds that were supposed to be destroyed. Corbett ( Mitchell) is double crossed by his partner , Dolph ( Ivor Salter) and left for dead. Darlene ( Mansfield) is in bed in her nightie rolling around in the money.

Morelli, a swarthy bastard who works for the hotel, goes into Darlene’s room as she has the radio too loud. He spies one of the notes and tries to take it, but Dolph arrives and throws him out of the room. The hotel owner, Madame Benoit and Morelli are lovers. Morelli’s sister, Sandra , also works there. Morelli wants the money as news of the robbery is on the radio. He plans to kill Dolph and Darlene, then have his sister put a bomb on the boat. 

Back in the room, Darlene complains about having one pair of panties and wants a clean pair. Nice to know that she’s into personal hygiene and that explains the flies buzzing around in the room. Dolph puts the cash in his money belt. Sandra goes to plant the bomb, but Corbett is on the boat and ties her up. Corbett is bleeding from a gash on his head and his jacket is covered in blood.

The dubbing on this film is horrible, and sometimes incoherent. Darlene keeps saying “crackers” as a substitute for oh shit. Dolph and Darlene go to the boat and Corbett holds them at gun point. They go to a “deserted “ island to split up the loot. Morelli follows in a small boat that he hides. Corbett beats the crap out of Dolph for trying to kill him. The island hotel has two inhabitants, Lady Xenia and her servant, Jannis ( Werner Peters). Jannis explains that she has come here to die. 

Morelli shows up waving a gun. Corbett shoots him in the arm. This complicates things because Corbett mulls over the fact that they might have to kill four people to cover their tracks. Darlene and Sandra get into a catfight . They wind up in the water and the small boat they came in gets loose and drifts away. 

Dolph has another boat, but Jannis gets in his ear about how he can’t trust Corbett and Darlene. He ,Jannis, can get Dolph out for a third of the loot. Now the loot has vanished. Corbett finds that Xenia hid it in a piano. More infighting and plotting between everyone. Then Dolph is found dead with a wire wrapped around his neck. Fingers are pointed. Darlene wants Jannis to play the piano so she can dance. Corbett tells him no. Jannis plays ,then Corbett crushes his fingers. 

Morelli spies someone doing something with the piano. He grabs the money and runs to his boat with Corbett in pursuit. When he gets to the boat, someone throws a firebomb at him. Morelli is killed and the money turns out to be cut up paper. Jannis talks to Corbett about the deal he offered Dolph. Then Jannis is found with a knife though his heart. Corbett confronts Xenia who claims to know nothing. Corbett starts tearing the place up. He slices up a painting of a topless Xenia. Somehow the network missed this . Xenia has a heat attack.

Corbett is completely unhinged looking for the money. Sandra comes on to him. Corbett rips her dress and the money is pinned to it. Corbett chases Sandra, who has a gun. She keeps shooting Corbett in the chest as he counts the bullets. Darlene watches as the two wrestle for the money . They fall into the sea. Darlene wades into the water after the cash. She sinks below the waves and The End flashes on the screen. 

An odd little film that I never saw past it’s 3am debut. Dark Sky released it on DVD years ago. Jayne Mansfield had been doing a lot of films overseas as he husband, Mickey Hargitay, was also in a lot of Euro westerns and horror films. She is a complete bimbo in this film. Mitchell is completely manic in this film, and the dubbing makes him seem more off the wall.. Dog Eat Dog is a sleazy classic. 

All of these films are worth seeking out. A lot are on DVD ,which makes them easy to find. We didn’t have this luxury, we had to hope that some station would run them again. 

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