Blonde Ice


1h 14m 1948

Film Details

Release Date
May 20, 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Martin Mooney Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Film Classics, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Once Too Often by Whitman Chambers (Garden City, NY, 1938).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 14m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,668ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

In San Francisco, newspaper society reporter Claire Cummings marries rich businessman Carl Hanneman. However, after the ceremony, Claire tells sports writer Les Burns, who had been expecting to marry her, that she is really in love with him. During their honeymoon in Los Angeles, Carl discovers a letter she has written to Les and leaves her, intending to divorce her. Claire charters a plane to fly her to San Francisco and back to Los Angeles in an attempt to establish an alibi for the murder she intends to commit. When she officially returns to San Francisco, she invites Les to her house, where he discovers Carl, an apparent victim of suicide by gunshot. After Les takes Claire to stay with friends Hack and Mimi Doyle, police captain Bill Murdock stops by to question Claire and tells her that there were no fingerprints on the gun. Al Herrick, Les's fellow reporter and another of Claire's former conquests, is assigned to follow up on the case and believes that Carl was murdered. When Hack tells Les that Herrick suspects Les of killing Carl, he denies it. After the district attorney informs Claire and Les that he is treating the case as a murder, Claire resumes writing her column. At a restaurant, Claire asks Herrick to introduce her to attorney Stanley Mason, whom her newspaper is endorsing for Congress, and then asks him to administer her late husband's affairs and begins to seduce him. Meanwhile, Murdock quizzes Les about his whereabouts on the night Carl was killed, but cannot prove anything. Charter pilot Blackie Talon tries to blackmail Claire, but she is only concerned about her affair with Mason, who plans to marry her and take her to Washington upon winning the election. Through Mason, Claire meets the mysterious Dr. Geoffrey Klippinger, who offers to psychoanalyze her.Later, when Talon phones demanding more money and jewelry, she arranges to meet him and kills him. At a party celebrating his victory, Mason announces his engagement to Claire, and Les leaves very disillusioned. Later, Claire goes to Les's apartment and tells him that, although she loves him, he could never give her the things she must have--money and social standing. Mason, who has followed Claire, discovers her with Les and calls off the marriage. Claire offers him a farewell drink, then stabs him to death and tries to frame Les for the crime. The next day, after Hack asks Dr. Klippinger to help him to prove Les's innocence, Klippinger visits Claire. Explaining that he has spent his life delving into distorted minds like hers, Klippinger accuses her of killing Mason and framing Les. When Hack and Al enter and attempt to trick Claire into believing that the police are on their way, she shows Hack her last column in which she confesses to killing Carl, Talon and Mason. After stating that she loved only Les, Claire then tries to shoot Klippinger as he is the first man ever to see inside her mind. In the ensuing struggle with Klippinger, Claire shoots and kills herself.

Film Details

Release Date
May 20, 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Martin Mooney Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Film Classics, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Once Too Often by Whitman Chambers (Garden City, NY, 1938).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 14m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,668ft (8 reels)

Articles

Blonde Ice - A Neglected Film Noir?


One great thing about the still flourishing DVD market is the continual restoration and re-discovery of obscure and unknown films that turn out to be true finds. A perfect example of this is the recent VCI release (in a "Special Edition" no less) of Blonde Ice, a rarely seen film noir distributed by the "Poverty Row" studio, Film Classics, in 1948. The tale of a homicidal man-eater who goes after her male victims with the self-minded determination of a cyborg (think of her as a female Terminator), Blonde Ice offers up a femme fatale who can vie with the likes of Jane Greer in Out of the Past (1947) or Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity (1944) when it comes to pure, calculating evil.

Directed at a brisk pace by Jack Bernhard and photographed by George Robinson (a former cameraman for Universal Studios where he lensed such atmospheric horror films as Dracula's Daughter, 1936), Blonde Ice charts the rapid rise and fall of a sexy newspaper columnist, Claire Cummings (Leslie Brooks), who'll do ANYTHING to get what she wants. The film opens at Claire's wedding and we get our first glimpse of her as she descends the stairs in her bridal gown. Pausing to shoot a mocking glance in the direction of her former lovers (there are several of them), she then heads down the aisle to be married. Barely five minutes after the ceremony, she's out on the veranda, smooching with her former flame Les (Robert Paige) who realizes he's being played for a fool: "You're getting a sadistic kick out of having me at your wedding...." Indeed, Claire revels in her blatant infidelity telling him, "I'll think about you on my honeymoon." But she runs into a wall when her new hubby discovers an unmailed love letter to Les. He files for divorce and Claire takes revenge by arranging and staging his murder as a suicide. This is just the first in a series of cold-blooded acts that Claire performs to protect her own interests which are solely focused on money, prestige and power.

One of the most compelling reasons to watch Blonde Ice is Leslie Brooks who plays Claire as the most transparent sociopath in the world; her every wicked thought or evil deed telegraphed by the blatant expressions of lust, greed or hatred that flicker across her face. There is nothing "natural" about Brooks' performance; it's broad and mannered, yet, in its own stylized way, it's perfect for the character she's playing and you won't be able to take your eyes off her. Just watch the way Brooks delivers an innocuous line about her next victim. Sizing up a promising new political candidate across the room, she remarks, "He looks like the kind of man who could get things done, (slight pause for effect) quickly." Her delivery falls just short of looking at the audience and winking. Part of the fun of Blonde Ice is simply watching Brooks' black widow broadcast her every move and how - for the most part - she gets away with her outrageous behavior.

VCI has loaded their DVD release of Blonde Ice with a bunch of extra features, a few of them completely unrelated to the featured film such as the soundie, "Satan Wears a Satin Dress," and a film noir TV episode, "Into the Night." Film historian Jay Fenton provides a running commentary and also participates in a short interview on film restoration and one on the origins of Blonde Ice (it was supposedly based on a script written by Edgar Ulmer entitled "Single Indemnity" but was later changed to the current title with Ulmer receiving no screen credit). A compilation of film noir trailers (all available from VCI) is also featured along with a photo gallery and very extensive liner notes. As for the visual presentation, Blonde Ice looks slightly soft with occasional frame weave and a few authoring errors (a film frame will freeze up momentarily and then resume play; this happened three or four times on the review copy). Probably the most glaring errors are on the rear snapcase cover; the copy is full of incorrect grammar and typos. See if you can find any in this line: "...a beautiful society columnist who's desire for money and position turn her into a seral killer..." Hire a proofreader! Overall, the movie looks better than you'd expect for a fifty-five year old B-picture from a Poverty Row studio. Here's hoping that VCI will bring us other undiscovered gems in their "Film Noir" series.

For more information about Blonde Ice, visit VCI Entertainment.

by Jeff Stafford
Blonde Ice - A Neglected Film Noir?

Blonde Ice - A Neglected Film Noir?

One great thing about the still flourishing DVD market is the continual restoration and re-discovery of obscure and unknown films that turn out to be true finds. A perfect example of this is the recent VCI release (in a "Special Edition" no less) of Blonde Ice, a rarely seen film noir distributed by the "Poverty Row" studio, Film Classics, in 1948. The tale of a homicidal man-eater who goes after her male victims with the self-minded determination of a cyborg (think of her as a female Terminator), Blonde Ice offers up a femme fatale who can vie with the likes of Jane Greer in Out of the Past (1947) or Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity (1944) when it comes to pure, calculating evil. Directed at a brisk pace by Jack Bernhard and photographed by George Robinson (a former cameraman for Universal Studios where he lensed such atmospheric horror films as Dracula's Daughter, 1936), Blonde Ice charts the rapid rise and fall of a sexy newspaper columnist, Claire Cummings (Leslie Brooks), who'll do ANYTHING to get what she wants. The film opens at Claire's wedding and we get our first glimpse of her as she descends the stairs in her bridal gown. Pausing to shoot a mocking glance in the direction of her former lovers (there are several of them), she then heads down the aisle to be married. Barely five minutes after the ceremony, she's out on the veranda, smooching with her former flame Les (Robert Paige) who realizes he's being played for a fool: "You're getting a sadistic kick out of having me at your wedding...." Indeed, Claire revels in her blatant infidelity telling him, "I'll think about you on my honeymoon." But she runs into a wall when her new hubby discovers an unmailed love letter to Les. He files for divorce and Claire takes revenge by arranging and staging his murder as a suicide. This is just the first in a series of cold-blooded acts that Claire performs to protect her own interests which are solely focused on money, prestige and power. One of the most compelling reasons to watch Blonde Ice is Leslie Brooks who plays Claire as the most transparent sociopath in the world; her every wicked thought or evil deed telegraphed by the blatant expressions of lust, greed or hatred that flicker across her face. There is nothing "natural" about Brooks' performance; it's broad and mannered, yet, in its own stylized way, it's perfect for the character she's playing and you won't be able to take your eyes off her. Just watch the way Brooks delivers an innocuous line about her next victim. Sizing up a promising new political candidate across the room, she remarks, "He looks like the kind of man who could get things done, (slight pause for effect) quickly." Her delivery falls just short of looking at the audience and winking. Part of the fun of Blonde Ice is simply watching Brooks' black widow broadcast her every move and how - for the most part - she gets away with her outrageous behavior. VCI has loaded their DVD release of Blonde Ice with a bunch of extra features, a few of them completely unrelated to the featured film such as the soundie, "Satan Wears a Satin Dress," and a film noir TV episode, "Into the Night." Film historian Jay Fenton provides a running commentary and also participates in a short interview on film restoration and one on the origins of Blonde Ice (it was supposedly based on a script written by Edgar Ulmer entitled "Single Indemnity" but was later changed to the current title with Ulmer receiving no screen credit). A compilation of film noir trailers (all available from VCI) is also featured along with a photo gallery and very extensive liner notes. As for the visual presentation, Blonde Ice looks slightly soft with occasional frame weave and a few authoring errors (a film frame will freeze up momentarily and then resume play; this happened three or four times on the review copy). Probably the most glaring errors are on the rear snapcase cover; the copy is full of incorrect grammar and typos. See if you can find any in this line: "...a beautiful society columnist who's desire for money and position turn her into a seral killer..." Hire a proofreader! Overall, the movie looks better than you'd expect for a fifty-five year old B-picture from a Poverty Row studio. Here's hoping that VCI will bring us other undiscovered gems in their "Film Noir" series. For more information about Blonde Ice, visit VCI Entertainment. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The print viewed was missing approximately twelve minutes, but additional plot information was obtained from a cutting continuity in the copyright deposit.