Sunday, June 4, 2017

Private Property

I watched Private Property off my DVR today because I noticed that it was rediscovered and got a DVD release at the end of last year. I'm sorry to say that I wouldn't pay the prices they're asking for the DVD.

The film starts off with a pair of drifters showing up at a gas station on the coastal highway somehwere north of Los Angeles. Duke (Corey Allen) is clearly the stronger personality in the pair, while the more submissive is Boots (Warren Oates). Duke is also something of a petty criminal, as he initiates what would be a hold-up if it weren't for the fact that the gas station attendant wisely gives in and lets the two guys have the bottles of soda they want. At the station, they run into a nice mid-50s car being driven by appliance salesman Ed (Jerome Cowan who only has the one scene) down to a convention in Los Angeles. They basically carjack him, as they're going to Los Angeles too.

It's not a hitch-hike because at the station they also meet Ann (Kate Manx), who is driving down to Los Angeles and only stopped to ask directions. Duke makes Ed drive them to Ann's house, high in the hills overlooking Los Angeles. As they're dropped off, they notice another house further up the hill that doesn't seem to be occupied, so they take up squatting.

Duke and Boots start ogling Ann from afar. Duke kindly tells Boots that Boots can have the sexual conquest, because Boots has never actually had sex before, somthing that will surprise audiences watching today that they'd talk about something liek this in a movie from 1960. However, it turns out that Duke is just as interested in Ann as he thinks Boots is. Duke goes down the hill to visit Ann several times. Of course, Ann already has a husband, which is going to cause problems. Fortunately for Duke, however, that husband is going away on a business trip of his own....

As I implied in the opening paragraph, I'm not particularly a fan of this movie. There's something about Duke's manipulativeness that really turned me off. There are certainly some good characters who can be manipulative; I'm reminded of Alan Arkin's Roat in Wait Until Dark. But Duke comes across as a creep. The fact that it's Duke who dominates proceedings throught the movie makes it a bit of a slog for me. Warren Oates is good as Boots, and there's some lovely black-and-white cinematography of the way the Los Angeles suburbs looked back in 1960. But that wasn't enough for me to make the movie one I'd like. But watch for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

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