The Iron Glove (1954)
Before William Castle decided to turn into a real life P.T. Barnum type by selling himself to the public much like Hitchcock to better market his thriller movies, he slummed for producer Sam Katzman turning out this sword play adventure with another slumming celebrity.
Robert Stack stars here as a swashbuckling Irishman out to help his pal Prince James (Richard Wyler) ascend to the throne of England. Court intrigue is sure to play a part as Stack goes undercover in France only to find himself taken in by a Duke and his supposed wife. For a leading lady Stack has been presented with the current Mrs. Robert Taylor, Ursula Theiss. When the Duke fakes his own death, Theiss is assigned to use her feminine charms to lure Stack into a romance and find out just where the good Prince is hiding. Assassins are lurking.
When the Austrian princess who is betrothed to Prince James is taken captive, Stack leads a three man rescue operation to bring her gently back to the safety of the throne. Alan Hale Jr. and Charles Irwin make up the trio who along with Stack face off against the Duke’s men in a light hearted romp of swords and drink.
Mixed into the plot is the on again off again love affair that has developed inside of thirty minutes of screen time between Stack and Theiss. Once her secret is out and Stack knows of her true mission could it be possible that she has switched allegiances and truly win the love of her sworn enemy? Come now, surely you’ve seen this plot point before.
This is strictly a “B” film released in color no less through Columbia Pictures. It would appear that by this time low budget master Katzman had moved his producing operations from the lowly Monogram studios to the smaller of the big studios overseen by King Harry Cohn.
Robert Stack briefly mentioned this title in his autobiography pointing out, ” You can go to work for a producer who turns out forgettable, low budget films with actors who hope that these indiscretions will be forgotten as their stars rise to greater glory.” This at a point when he was turning out titles like Bwana Devil. In time Stack’s stock would rise once again scoring an Oscar nomination and striking fame as Elliott Ness of The Untouchables.
As for this “indiscretion” being forgotten? No such like for Mr. Stack as it occasionally turns up on TCM with nary an Iron Glove in sight though the catchy title would have us believe otherwise.
B films have a certain amount of charm and the short running times associated with them make for a quick diverting ninety minutes or less. This title is no different though Stack’s Irish accent leaves something to be desired. Comedy is easily mixed in with Alan Hale going undercover as a bar maid and Charles Irwin putting on his best Barry Fitzgerald act as he drinks an enemy under the table.
While Stack may wish this “men in tights title” best be forgotten, I prefer to welcome these light hearted swordplay romps in to my viewing room and pass the time away.