HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Stanford Prison Experiment, The
Assassination in Rome
Castle Freak
Pinocchio
Brother Bear
Raiders of Buddhist Kung Fu
County Lines
Polytechnique
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Covert Action
Strangler's Web
Host
Nimic
House of Bamboo
Murder Me, Monster
Hell and High Water
Possessor
Flint
Miserables, Les
Ritz, The
Patrick
Cemetery
Girls of the Sun
Princess and the Goblin, The
Skyfire
Upright
Incredible Kung Fu Mission
Dirty Cops
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist
Son's Room, The
Evil Hits Evil
Agency
Blue My Mind
Thumbelina
Proxima
Aprile
Assassination Nation
Golden Key, The
Image Book, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
   
 
  Challenge, The Up To No Good
Year: 1960
Director: John Gilling
Stars: Jayne Mansfield, Anthony Quayle, Carl Möhner, Peter Reynolds, John Bennett, Barbara Mullen, Peter Pike, Robert Brown, Dermot Walsh, Edward Judd, John Stratton, Patrick Holt, Lorraine Clewes, Percy Herbert, John Wood, Lloyd Lamble, Bryan Pringle
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jim (Anthony Quayle) is a single father of a baby boy who really should be thinking of going straight, but he is persuaded by his current romantic partner Billy (Jayne Mansfield) to join her criminal gang which will be holding up a bank van if all goes to plan. He is reluctant, but she has a hold over him that is only bolstered by the strongarm tactics of gang member Kristy (Carl Möhner) who is especially keen to get his share of those ill-gotten gains. Billy insists on being the getaway driver, and into the night they go, five criminals who stop said truck and bash the driver and guards over the heads, then help themselves to the sacks of cash. For her own personal thrill, Billy waits till the police siren is heard before taking off, but Jim doesn't know what trouble he will be in now...

When she found the work in Hollywood drying up alarmingly quickly in the early nineteen-sixties, after her first flush of success in the previous decade, Jayne Mansfield took to globetrotting to pick up acting roles. She hardly needed to, as she was cultivating a nightclub show that was making her a small fortune, but every opportunity to keep her profile in the public eye was never one to waste, and she started to take roles in European movies, including British ones like The Challenge. Here she started the movie with a different look: instead of platinum blonde she was raven-haired, and the part called for more of a dramatic reading than her dumb blonde persona that had made her name across the world.

Her fans will always tell you she had genuine talent and if she had been offered the right roles she would have happily proved that, something those fluff comedies she was most celebrated for would not have demonstrated, but every so often she secured a serious movie to appear in and she did not embarrass herself here by any means, serving as the romantic lead with a twist of criminality, more or less the femme fatale in a late period Brit noir, somewhat past the prime of such efforts but marking a transition into the more socially aware thrillers that would show up as the sixties progressed. Quayle was the stooge who has a shot at redemption once he is put behind bars for the robbery, but first has to get through a true trial of his character.

For some reason, of the two gang leaders the woman had a man's name (at least with a man's spelling) and the man had a woman's name, as Kristy takes over the operation while Jim is in jail, leaving Billy to run a nightclub (which has a stripper who we almost, but not quite, see taking all her clothes off). It had to be said, though there were some nice, moody images and well-chosen locations, nothing in the body of the movie could beat the great title sequence which presented a mixture of shots of London's neon-lit West End with stylised shots of a big band playing the jazzy theme. If the whole film had been made that way it might have been more memorable, but as it was it worked up a perfectly fair set of thriller tropes that would come to be better employed in the television series of the day.

Or indeed the B-movies, but the presence of actual, proper Hollywood star Mansfield and actual Shakespearean thespian Quayle lifted it to a more prominent position than it might have had otherwise, or even be justified in containing. Once Jayne's hair turns blonde, it's five years later and Jim has been released from prison to see his son again (distractingly dubbed by a woman's impersonation of an child, as was the practice in British films of the day, qv Village of the Damned for the most obvious example). However, there's the not so small matter of what he did with the loot back then, as he was the one who buried it in the countryside without telling the others its whereabouts. The violent Kristy has the boy kidnapped, under the eye of the creepy Buddy (Peter Reynolds) who ultimately tries to coax the boy to play on the railway tracks - can Jim rescue the boy as the cops close in? With some surprisingly brutal parts - Jim's mother (Barbara Mullen) is viciously beaten up at one point - The Challenge was suspenseful enough not to be a waste of time, file it under "not bad at all". Music by Bill McGuffie.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1491 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: