POWDER RIVER, Leicester Square Theatre: Certificate U Director: Louis King N eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth . . ." This makes me recall that part of Ancient History when we studied the codified
laws of Hammurabi. At that time imprisonment was not recognised and death was freely awarded for various forms of theft and disorder.
The worthy Hammurabi of Babylonia set these laws on tablets (2067-2025 B.C.) thus establishing a central and efficient government for his peoples of the Tigris and Euphrates and making Babylon the political a n d intellectual centre of the west Asiatic history right down to the Christian era.
Should we take the trouble, we could trace the adaptation of these laws through the Greek and Roman times to this modern age.
Why unearth past history? To start with, "Powder River" has its setting in that early stage of American history when small towns were "teeming" with noisy casinos. notorious gunmen, gold prospectors and overland stage-coaches. There were no set laws but what nature dictated.
An average cinema-goer would condemn this type of film immediately by saying: "Oh yes, another banged-up Wild West story." True. it has all that. plus a rather fair cast and extremely good photography. If you disregard the corpses. the rest will take care of itself.
The story begins with Chino Bull (Rory Calhoun) and his partner as gold prospectors. The narrator is quite right when he says: "One summer evening things began to happen." Loney Logan (Carl Bete) and his gang arc a continuous menace until they are literally "cleaned out" by the temporary marshal, Chino Bull.
Frenchie (Corinne Calvert) learns to run a saloon sans loaded dice. Mitch Hardin (Cameron Mitchell) and Debbie (Penny Edwards) are two easterners who help to create tension, pity, romance and add a definite finesse to the otherwise scruffy lot of tough hombres.
DANGEROUS CROSSING Leicester Square Theatre: Certificate A Director: Joseph M. Newman THIS adventure on the high seas is 1 an absolute thriller. Those of you who have travelled on board a larger ship know what it is to walk the boat-deck on a foggy night with the whistle blowing perpettei II and will re-live some of the scenes in this story.
"Husbands can get lost so easily," Kay Prentice (Marjorie Hoshellc) tells new bride Ruth (Jeanne Crain), who is waiting for her elusive husband John (Carl Betz).
The plot to drive Ruth insane is well prepared.
In the meantime, the ship's doctor, Paul Manning (Michael Rennie) takes a deep interest in the case and goes as far as fighting it out with the murder-bsnt groom.
The suspense and intrigue are Al, well planned and capitally acted.