Man Bait (1952)

man bait 1952

Definitely see this one. Even though she had a number of small roles in movies and TV the opening credits say “Introducing Diana Dors.” Peter Reynolds makes a good sleaze in this story of blackmail and murder. It’s based on a book by James Hadley Chase.

John Harmon (George Brent) manages a London book store. He and his invalid wife are about to leave on a cruise. Ruby Bruce is a clerk. She’s late every day. John mildly tells her off but doesn’t fire her.

She spots a customer opening a cabinet and stealing a rare book. She calls him on it and he puts it back. She doesn’t turn him in and he tells her to meet him that night at his club. She does. She says she’ll meet him again tomorrow night. He’s Jeff Hart (Peter Reynolds) who has just been released from prison.

That meeting will be delayed as she has to work late. She accidentally tears her blouse on a file cabinet while doing inventory with John. When he touches the rip she puts a lip lock on him. At the club Jeff is with his girlfriend Vi. Ruby finally shows up and tells him her boss manhandled her. Jeff punches her on the shoulder to leave a bruise. Then he suggests how she can blackmail John by saying he attacked her.

Her blackmail attempt doesn’t work and Jeff says she should write a letter to John’s wife. She shows it to him and he doesn’t respond. Ruby doesn’t know it but Jeff mailed it. At home John tells his wife all the arrangements have been made for their cruise. The mail comes. He gives her a letter that came for her and then goes to the shop.

A call comes in. She died while getting out of bed to burn the letter. That night John works late to have something to do. Ruby comes in and demands money. He throws her three hundred pounds that he had for the cruise. She goes to her locker in the basement. Jeff sneaks in through a window and sees her putting the money in her purse.

She gives Jeff a hundred pounds and says that’s all there is. He grabs the purse and takes the rest. She lets out a yell and John comes down to investigate. Jeff has his hand tightly over Ruby’s mouth. John sees some books out of line but doesn’t hear anything and leaves. To Jeff’s surprise, Ruby’s dead.

Some good suspense from here on out. Diana Dors shows off her acting chops before becoming famous as a blonde bombshell and ended up showing everything else.

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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