The Glass Cage (1964) ***

December 21st, 2020
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Antonio Santean | Wri: John Hoyt | Cast: Arlene Martel, John Hoyt, Elisha Cook Jr, Bob Kelljan, King Moody | Henry Darrow | US Thriller

Off-beat to put it mildly, this location-shot murder mystery and psycho-drama was co-written and co-produced by veteran actor John Hoyt, who saw to it that the tiny budget was well employed while enjoying himself as a seasoned cop working the mean streets of early Sixties L.A. It sees two detectives investigating the murder of a local businessman by a mysterious woman.

If you were working on a budget as low as this bizarre cross of William Castle and early Kubrick you could probably do pretty much what you wanted as long as you didn’t go over schedule, made sure there was film in the camera and didn’t upset the censor. Although not exactly good it’s certainly strange enough to linger in the memory and gives a juicy role to TV actress Arlene Martel (billed as ‘Arlene Sax’), best remembered for the very different role of Spock’s Vulcan bride T’Pring in the classic Star Trek episode ‘Amok Time’. The film’s biggest liability is actually a noisy music score.

Slight spoil alert: It also has the bonus of Elisha Cook as the heroine’s father; although despite being billed fourth he appears so fleetingly it feels as it he was just visiting the set while they were filming and offered a walk on (or – since he walks with a stick – a hobble on). We’re told he’s an evangelist but sadly don’t see him in the pulpit. Richard Chatten.




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