Eat To The Beat(nik): Peter Falk in "The Bloody Brood" (1959)
Written by Gary at Cracked Rear Viewer
I suppose you could categorize "The Bloody Brood" as Canadian Beatnik Noir – and it would definitely be a category of one! But this low-budget entry from The Great White North tells its tale at a fairly swift pace (or aboot as swift as those Canucks can get, eh?), features an oddball cast of characters, and offers viewers the unquestionably non-Canadian Peter Falk in his second film as a dope-peddling psychopath who gets his kicks from “death… the last great challenge of the collective mind”.
Falk, warming up for his breakthrough role as Abe ‘Kid Twist’ Reles in MURDER INC. a year later, plays Nico, who pushes his junk to the Beat Generation rejects that hang around the local cafe (“He’s a salesman, baby… he sells dreams”). When an old man dies of a heart attack before their eyes, psycho Nico thinks it’d be far-out to deliberately off a square, so he and his pal Francis give a ground-glass-laced hamburger to an unsuspecting messenger boy. The kid calls his big brother Cliff right before he croaks, and now Cliff dives into the seedy world of bongos, bad poetry, and slinky chicks in leotards to avenge the boy, despite being warned off by Police Detective McLeod and copping a beating from a pair of Nico’s leather-clad thugs, Studs and The Weasel…
Falk steals the show as the cool-but-deadly Nico, giving us a mesmerizing portrayal of a sociopath. The film serves as a showcase for the then-32-year-old Falk’s undeniable talent, and his performance is worth the proverbial price of admission. As for the rest of the cast, none of them are anyone you’d immediately know, unless you’re a fan of Spaghetti Westerns – actor Jack Betts, who plays Our Hero Cliff, later changed his name to Hunt Powers and rode the dusty trail in Italian Horse Operas like "Sugar Colt", "One Damned Day At Dawn...Django Meets Sartana" (as Django), "Django and Sartana are Coming...It's the End" (as Sartana!), "Coffin Full of Dollars," and "A Fistful of Death" (and later portrayed Boris Karloff in the James Whale biopic "Gods and Monsters!")...
To read the rest of Gary's review, click here!
Then, head over to TheFilmDetective.tv to catch Peter Falk, Barbara Lord, and Jack Betts in "The Bloody Brood" (1959).