Thursday, September 8, 2011

Anne Francis & Dana Andrews in Brainstorm (1965)

This film is not to be confused with the 1983 film of the same name. This black and white thriller warns against pretending to be something you're not. Jim Grayam (Jeffrey Hunter) is a research scientist working for an aeronautics firm in California owned by Cort Benson. One night he rescues a lovely woman (Francis) from what turns out to be a dramatic suicide attempt, only to discover she's his boss's wife, Lorrie. This should have been his first clue to steer clear, but he eventually falls into the trap of an affair with her. They believe they've been discreet enough for the affair to go unnoticed, but when strange events begin to befall Jim, Lorrie realizes that Cort has found out. Cort's strategy is to ruin the men who become rivals for his wife's affections by exploiting the chinks in their armor - Jim's chink is a history of mental illness. Cort picked the wrong man to poke with a stick, however. Jim decides to play into Cort's hand and feign mental illness to use as a defense for murder - his murder!
This dark film noir has many of the elements of The Postman Always Rings Twice and other films of that style, but with an edgy, chaos infused, 60's point of view. Look for Viveca Lindfors as a sympathetic psychiatrist and Richard Kiel (Jaws from the Bond films) in a small role as an inmate.

This film is available on DVD and can occasionally be seen on TCM. It's largely forgotten, however. Above is a scene from the film, uploaded to YouTube by GR160289.

Obscurity factor: 8 (on DVD, occasionally screened on television, not well remembered)

1 comment:

  1. Dana Andrews gives a memorable performance in this film as the mean husband. It was just two weeks work for him and almost all his scenes were shot on the first take. I know since I saw the production files while researching HOLLYWOOD ENIGMA: DANA ANDREWS, the first biography of this great film noir actor that University Press of Mississippi will publish in September.