The Hostage

John Carradine in The Hostage (dir. Russell S. Doughten Jr., 1967).

The most striking thing about The Hostage is that it was shot on location in Des Moines. Maybe that's only striking if you've been to Des Moines, so that like me you watch it and go hey, that's Des Moines!

It's not a classic by any stretch, but there is a nice feeling of prosaic suspense throughout. Director Doughten's main claim to fame before this movie was as producer of The Blob, and after it of Christian films, including the A Thief in the Night series. Before I knew Doughten was big on God, I thought the scene where the homeless man played by John Carradine goes into a church to look for a handout was a wickedly funny piece of satire: he's surrounded by portraits of Jesus, and he takes a long look at one of them, in which the Saviour's brows appear to be furrowed menacingly. Carradine scowls back defiantly. Now I realize that those brows were supposed to convey compassion and mercy!

Also fun to see a "young" Harry Dean Stanton (he was basically born fifty, wasn't he?) as a reluctant kidnapper.

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