HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Challenge, The Up To No GoodBuy this film here.
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, Thriller
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 1068 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 do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: