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Never Take Sweets from a Stranger
Never Take Candy from a Stranger

UK 1960
produced by
Anthony Hinds, Michael Carreras (executive) for Hammer
directed by Cyril Frankel
starring Gwen Watford, Patrick Allen, Felix Aylmer, Niall MacGinnis, Alison Leggatt, Bill Nagy, Michael Gwynn, Budd Knapp, MacDonald Parke, Estelle Brody, Helen Horton, Robert Arden, Gaylord Cavallaro, Vera Cook, Janina Faye, Frances Green, James Dyrenforth, Hazel Jennings, Cal McCord, Sheila Robins, Larry O'Connor, Shirley Butler, Michael Hammond, Patricia Marks, Peter Carlisle, Mark Baker, Sonia Fox, John Bloomfield, Charles Maunsell, Andre Dakar, Bill Sawyer, Jack LynnWilliam Abney], Tom Bu, Tom Busby
Screenplay by John Hunter, based on the play The Pony Cart by Roger Garis, music by Elisabeth Lutyens

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Peter (Patrick Allen) and Gwen (Sally) have just moved to a Canadian lumber town where Peter is to be the high school's principal, when they learn that their 9 year old daughter Jean (Janina Faye) and another girl, Lucille (Frances Green) have been invited into the house of an old man who promised them candy if they dance for him naked. The girls were much too innocent to see anything wrong in that, but Peter and Gwen do, and they report the whole incident to the police. To their surprise, the authorities try to dissuade them from filing a report, as the old man was Clarence Olderberry (Felix Aylmer), addled-in-his-brain patriarch of the Olderberry family that pretty much owns the town, but they go through with it. But now they've got the town against them, as everybody's dependent from the Olderberrys (even if they know there's someone wrong with Clarence), and Clarence's son Richard (Bill Nagy) even goes so far as to threaten Peter and Sally. Plus the parents of Lucille just send her away and refuse to have her questioned, even in court.

Court day turns into living hell for Jean, as the defense counsel (Niall MacGinnis) tries every trick in the book to break the girl - and succeeds. Eventually, Peter withdraws the lawsuit for the sake of his daughter, and Clarence Olderberry is thus proclaimed innocent. Beaten, Peter resigns from his job with the intention to move, but now Richard Olderberry wants to keep him,thinking a show of magnanimity will iron things out, but that only shows to Peter that Richard is just a pompous fool who understands nothing, refuses to think outside the box, and this only convinces him it's high time to move.

Moving day, Jean and Lucille have a final stroll through the woods when they bump into Clarence Olderberry - they run, but he follows and eventually has them cornered ...

When Jean doesn't come home that evening and her abandoned bicycle is found, Peter and the police are quick to form a posse, especially when it's found out that Clarence Olderberry has gone missing as well. They find Jean in the woods, totally out of her mind but otherwise well - and they also find old man Olderberry leaning over Lucille's corpse, as he has obviously killed her ...


Never Take Sweets from a Stranger is an elegantly filmed and compelling movie on a for its time risqué subject that even today packs a punch thanks to a nice build-up, strong performances, and a very tense finale - but that's not to say the film is without its flaws, as it's by no means free of clichées, sometimes drags a bit and hammers some of its points home a little too hard. Still, well worth a look!


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD