No Orchids for Miss Blandish

“It has all the morals of an alley cat and the sweetness of a sewer!” blared a contemporary review of this controversial 1948 noir. No Orchids bubbled forth from the depths of British Poverty Row studio Renown to shock the English nation with its casual brutality (multiple murders in cold blood in the opening reel, another killing involving a grandfatherly innocent bystander) and leering perversion (“I don't have ta drink ta want you,” opines one ruthless Romeo). The film concerns a hard-partying society dame who falls for her vicious kidnapper, a crime syndicate overlord. Simultaneously revolting and revolutionary, its Z-grade budget, inexpressive cast, and total disregard for bourgeois sensibility make No Orchids play like some unholy alliance of Ed Wood and Georges Bataille, a Poverty Row Grand Guignol. Monthly Film Bulletin declared it “the most sickening exhibition of brutality, perversion, sex and sadism ever to be shown on a cinema screen”-in other words, unmissable.

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