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Bury the Living I Movie Review

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Richard Boone (1917–81) was born to be an independent filmmaker at a time when few ventured into Indie Land. He did his best, though: 1963–64's The Richard Boone Show was a noble attempt to create a stock company (Boone, Robert Blake, Lloyd Bochner, Laura Devon, June Harding, Bethel Leslie, Harry Morgan, Jeanette Nolan, Ford Rainey, Warren Stevens, and Guy Stockwell) for a weekly dramatic anthology series and although it is less well-remembered than Medic (1954–56), Have Gun Will Travel (1957–63), or Hec Ramsey (1972–74), Boone's indie spirit was clearly in the right place at the wrong time. And then there is THIS strange little flick, which came and went in the summer of 1958, but still survives on video. Boone is Robert Kraft, who's just taken over as chairman of the town cemetery. For most of the 76-minute running time, he's convinced he's losing his mind, because when he accidentally puts a black pin in the cemetery map of pre-sold burial sites, the owner winds up dead. (Unoccupied grave sites are supposed to be represented by white pins!) Under Albert Band's guidance, Boone successfully manages to pull off this creepy tale until the inevitable logical explanation, which rather ruins it. Before that, Boone's haunted performance, Frederick Gately's remarkable camera work, and Gerald Fried's spooky score ignite some genuine terror. A script doctor would have helped I Bury the Living, but a larger budget would have scuttled it. As it stands, the film's cheap sincerity gives it a look and tone unlike anything else made at the time.

1958 76m/B Richard Boone, Theodore Bikel, Peggy Maurer, Herb Anderson, Howard Smith, Robert Osterloh, Russ Bender, Matt Moore, Ken Drake, Glenn Vernon, Lynn Bernay, Cyril Delevanti; D: Albert Band; W: Louis Garfinkle; C: Frederick Gately; M: Gerald Fried. VHS

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