Synopsis by Bruce Eder
James Hadley Chase's 1939 bestseller reached the screen for the first time -- which a lot of critics of the book would have said was one time too many -- in 1948, in somewhat bowdlerized form, under the aegis of Renown Pictures and screenwriter St. John Legh Clowes, making his sole bow as director. Filmed in England but set in New York, No Orchids For Miss Blandish tells of a sheltered heiress (Linden Travers) who is abducted on her wedding night by a trio of cheap hoods, in what starts out as a jewel robbery and turns into a kidnapping/murder when one of them (Richard Nielson) kills the bridegroom. More mayhem ensues as the three kidnappers soon end up dead, and Miss Blandish falls into the hands of the Grisson mob, led by Slim Grisson (Jack LaRue), who are pros at what they do, throwing their weight around the underworld at will and not too afraid of the police, either. Slim Grisson isn't really better than any of those around him, but he's smart enough to restrain his worst impulses, which makes him start to look very good to Miss Blandish, who finds herself strangely attracted to him, as the first real man she's ever seen, and also a way out of the sheltered existence she's known all of her life. He's as amazed as anyone around him -- including his own mother (Lili Molnar), who runs the gang in tandem with him -- that he doesn't want to ransom Miss Blandish, or plan on killing her because she knows too much; or that she'll testify on his behalf, if necessary, that the one killing she did see by him was, in fact, a matter of self-defense. They plan to run off together, but neither Grisson's mother nor the rest of the gang can see parting with a potential million dollar ransom, or leaving a witness alive -- even if it means killing Slim Grisson to get to her. And when a nosy reporter named Fenner (Hugh McDermott) starts putting the police on the trail of the gang, Slim himself isn't above committing a few more murders to bury any witnesses. The movie was so violent and amoral, that it appalled critics and social observers on both sides of the Atlantic, whose agonizing over its content actually helped turn the picture into a bigger hit than it might otherwise have been. This was especially true in America, where the movie enjoyed a five week run in one of New York's bigger movie palaces to sell-out business, though it was edited considerably and re-cut twice for US release (the second time, a couple of years later, as Black Dice). Robert Aldrich filmed the same story as The Grissom Gang (1971), with Kim Darby, Scott Wilson, and Irene Dailey.
girl, ransom, gangster, kidnapping, virgin