Blonde Ice

Michael Whalen and Leslie Brooks (doing that crazy eyes thing) in Blonde Ice (dir. Jack Bernhard, 1948).

Leslie Brooks and David Leonard.

Emory Parnell.

Jack Bernhard, the man who brought you Decoy, the story of a beautiful but cold-blooded she-devil who bumps off three men, brings you Blonde Ice, the story of a beautiful but cold-blooded she-devil who bumps off three men. Think this guy had issues with women? Or maybe just trouble thinking up new story ideas? Actually, legend has it that Edgar Ulmer played some part in writing this one, though there's nothing in the records to substantiate it. Blonde Ice doesn't fly off the rails with quite as much homicidal abandon as Decoy, but it's still a pretty wild ride. Check out this dialogue:

Robert Paige to Leslie Brooks: "You're not a normal woman. You're not warm. You're cold, like ice. Yeah, ice--blonde ice!"

Paige to Brooks again: "'Claire Cummings Hanneman Mason' ... if this keeps up you won't be able to get your initials on your silverware!"

Brooks to David Leonard (playing a psychoanalyst): "You and your slimy scientific snooping!"

Some of it is totally bargain basement. At one point, Brooks actually delivers the line (for no apparent reason), "They say the female of the species is deadlier than the male." But she does frosty quite well. In fact, just about nobody in the cast phones it in; everyone is pretty memorable, even the basically exchangeable husbands and jilted lovers. Especially cool is Emory Parnell as a smirking police captain: an inspiration, I'm conjecturing, for the character played by M. Emmet Walsh in the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple.

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