NEVER TAKE SWEETS FROM A STRANGER (1960) Movie Review – The Harrowing House of Hammer

“Never Take Sweets from a Stranger.” – Think about that title for a just a few seconds, and you’ll have a pretty good idea as to what this film is about.

And coming from the infamous house of horrors, Hammer Studios, this is a surprisingly progressive piece of film-making. What’s more, considering the sorts of material that the studio is known for, “NTSFAS” handles the delicate subject of pedophilia with a surprising sense of maturity. That being said, while this is a considerable strength working in favor of the picture, it is occasionally a hindrance as well.

The main way this manifests is in the overall tone of the movie – a tone which, due to moments of rather mechanical acting and the cookie-cutter antagonist, feels a bit more akin to an uptight public service announcement rather than a dramatic motion picture.

And although the film does a commendable job at creating a tense and exciting climax, there is a surprisingly bleak plot twist employed at the story’s finale that makes one wonder if such a move was really earned – or wholly effective.

Taking everything into perspective however, “NTSFAS” is certainly a respectable piece of work and one that Hammer fans owe it to themselves to seek out. Sure it has its share of clumsy, heavy-handed moments, but on the other end of the scale it does also have some noteworthy performances, a very well-done courtroom sequence, and a captivating climax. Not to mention, regardless of what your opinion may be of this movie, it does have a distinctly unforgettable, lingering impact that is conjured up, almost in spite of itself.

Though this unconventional Hammer flick may ultimately fall into the category of an interesting curiosity, it actually performs quite well in such a mold.

~ Stephen

Vía Letterboxd – The Paper Masque blog