Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Bloody Brood (1959)

I admit to being pleasantly surprised by this low budget Canadian offering, which features an early performance from Peter Falk of Columbo fame.

Falk plays Nico, a character far removed from the detective who was his most famous role.  Nico's a hard-bitten gangster who has infiltrated a group of beatniks in order to more easily peddle illicit drugs.  One day while hanging out in a bar with several of these 'friends', Nico witnesses an elderly man suffer a heart attack.

The men Nico is with fancy themselves artists and philosophers, and the malevolent mobster finds it pretty easy to convince them that they're witnessing one of the most dramatic moments in life - 'a real death scene' - and should not intervene.

After the old man dies, Nico finds himself hungry to relive the moment, and sets out to persuade the more weak-willed of his circle that taking a life would be a powerful artistic statement and give 'meaning' to the death of their victim.

Said victim is a 17-year old messenger boy who brings a telegram to the apartment where Nico is holding an illicit party in the owner's absence.  Niso figures this is someone whose death shouldn't attract much attention and even if it does, how would anyone trace it back to them?  They aren't registered at the address and have no apparent motive to kill the kid even if they were.

Of course it wouldn't be much of a story line if Nico just killed someone and got away with it, and it turns out the dead boy had an older brother who will not rest until he finds the people responsible.

With a solid cast - perhaps unsurprisingly, Falk is particularly good - and an engaging if relatively slight story, this was an enjoyable way to spend a smidgen over an hour.  Probably not a film that will stick with you for a long time after you watch it, but one I found engaging while it was on.

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