Last Alarm (2005) Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
ALPHA VIDEO offers bargain priced, often hard-to-find vintage movies that are ideal for those willing to skip DVD extras. Their transfers show no evidence of restoration, so quality varies from one title to the next, with “fair to good” being the average.
In the 1940 programmer THE LAST ALARM, George Pembroke (you can see his face on this product page) is a pyromaniac who sets industrial fires (lots of fine conflagration stock footage here), then mingles with the crowd to gleefully watch buildings collapse as firefighters struggle with uncontrollable blazes.
Pembroke often had bit parts, like a stage manager in THE SEVEN LITTLE FOYS (1955) or a cop in CALL NORTHSIDE 777 (1948). He also worked extensively in early TV, retiring in 1959 at age 60. As the somewhat deranged firebug he’s absolutely the best thing in what is an otherwise ordinary film.
The film’s star, J. Farrell MacDonald, speaks with the same accent, cadence and inflection as Bill Frawley, minus Frawley’s gravelly voice. Age 65 when this picture was shot, MacDonald is ideal as a fire captain forced into mandatory retirement.
Feeling in the way at home, he hangs out at the station with old cronies and gets involved when a serial arsonist strikes. Attention soon turns to antique dealer Pembroke when MacDonald notices a statuette of the fire god Vulcan that had been stolen from his car is now on display in Pembroke’s store window.
Realizing that he’ll soon be apprehended and not caring who gets hurt, Pembroke plans one final fire guaranteed to hit MacDonald where he lives. Our crazed arsonist really shines once that bomb goes off.
This one’s humbly low-budget, but thanks to George Pembroke and some spectacular newsreel footage, definitely worth a look!
About Last Alarm (2005)
Starring: Warren Hull
Runtime: 90 minutes
Director: William West