I’m treading water this week with a handful of new releases: Daniel Mann’s 1966 spy spoof “Our Man Flint,” now available as a limited edition Blu-ray from Twilight Time; an unexpectedly good print of the Halperin brothers’ Poverty Row classic “White Zombie,” featuring Bela Lugosi with a most curious goatee I hope will soon be turning up on the streets of the East Village; and the totally unexpected release of Edgar G. Ulmer’s frightening obscure 1955 “Murder Is My Beat,” offered in 1.85 from the Warner Archive Collection.
Ulmer’s star is the unfortunate Barbara Payton, whose life might have made a memorable film noir on its own. Payton was engaged to Franchot Tone when she began an affair with Tom Neal, the star of Ulmer’s “Detour,” which ended with Neal beating Tone into unconsciousness. Payton married Tone but eventually went back to Neal, which effectively ended both her career and Neal’s. “Murder Is My Beat” would be her last film, apart from an alleged appearance as an extra in Robert Aldrich’s “4 for Texas.” Coincidence, or was Ulmer doing Neal a solid? It may have been the last positive development in the lives of both Payton and Neal, who went on to fates that seem cruel even by Ulmerian standards.
My New York Times column is here.