Monday, November 24, 2008


“’'When you want something you want it right now. ... A carload of dollars, social position, the tops.'

'That's just the frame. You're the picture in that frame.'”


A Goldilocks gold digger, a newsie hubby victim, a sloshed sportswriter lover, a jealous weasel reporter, loads of mustaches and gigantic hats, and more hair-color based ambition than an early 90s Madonna tour.

More details here.


Sultry gossip columnist Claire Cummings (Leslie Brooks) marries newspaperman John Hanneman (John Holland) while still in love with a sportswriter Les Burns (Robert Paige). The ink on the marriage license isn't even dray when it becomes apparent that Claire, an ambitious social climber, has carried on multiple affairs with many others. She goes through the motions with Hanneman, who recognizes her lofty aspirations and a gambling problem, and after a few weeks of boredom she's ready to bail. When Hanneman finds her mash note to Burns, he makes the break-up official. Realizing she'll get screwed in divorce court, Claire hatches a plot to kill Hanneman. She enlists the aid of a recently released jailbird (Russ Vincent) to fly her to Hanneman's location, off him, and then fly back to another location in time to establish her alibi. The plot is successful, and she even reunites with Burns and waits for Hanneman's cash to roll in. But that's not enough for this bad blondie. She set her sights on a lawyer running for Congress in the hopes of further social climbing. Tugging a clueless and very thirsty Burns along, she juggles secret rendezvous with both men. When the lawyer wins the election, he rejects Claire and she goes nuts and kills the guy. And poor ol' sap Burns is set-up for the murder. A team of secondary characters made up of the newspaper's editor, Burns' lovelorn secretary, and another lawyer try the rescue Burns from the cold hearted icy grip of the fair-haired little tramp.


Blonde Ice is a playfully wicked noir that has a lot of things going for it: no stars, a no name director, and no budget. But all that lack is balanced against against a vile female lead, a business like pace, and a black-hearted plot. Apparently, the movie has been resurrected and restored after many years in relative obscurity. There's a feature on the DVD that suggests that the film's production may have involved director Edgar G. Ulmer at some point. Ulmer is best known for bleak and low budget film noirs such as Ruthless and Detour, both black spirited but particularly effective thrillers. He was a master of doing more with less, accenting his films with interesting characters and dialog that made up for lack of spectacle or cinematic bravado. Blonde Ice is so mean spirited and heinous that it's apparent why one would conclude that it packs Ulmer's punch. Regardless of Ulmer's influence, Claire is nonetheless a mean little bitch, consumed with the desire for upward mobility that ultimately claims her fate. She's the true black widow in a web of deceit and social maneuvering, and the gorgeous Brooks pulls it off with grace and subtlety. She's surrounded by a troupe of capable actors and everyone turns in fine performances. Adding to the grittiness of the picture are the low budget aesthetics: dim lighting, simple camerawork, and stark compositions. Blonde Ice is ultimately a step above conventional B movie fare with a surprisingly strong female lead, an engaging story, and a twisted little crime thriller unearthed for your femme fatale desires.

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