Tuesday, 23 March 2010


So bizarre are the various elements of RING OF FEAR that you'd be forgiven for thinking it was some demented joke thought up by a crazed film fan. Produced by John Wayne no less and directed by his tame dialogue writer James Edward Grant, partly written by actor Paul Fix, the film tells of a psychopathic killer (a nicely judged performance by Sean McClory) who escapes from a Lunatic Asylum with the intention of killing circus boss CydeBeatty. When a series of accidents befall the big top, Beatty's manager (a growling Pat O'Brien) hires (as you would) crime writer Mickey Spillane to find who is behind the mishaps and why. Strange enough for you ? Well, there is also Gonzalez-Gonzalez boxing a kangaroo! To be honest these elements don't add up to anything very special but the sheer strangeness makes it watchable. There is a lot more circus than there is mystery and although on principal I'm not in favour of wild animals performing in circuses it has to be said that the footage of Cyde Beatty working with lions and tigers is quite spectacular and obviously isn't faked. Long unavailable for legal reasons it is good to see this genuine oddity back in circulation. I, for one, have wanted to see it for years. Rating ***

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