The Tall Lie

For Men Only. Or Not.

Robert Sherman is being pledged into a fraternity, so he has to wear a sign that reads 'SCUM' and do humiliating and dangerous things and take swats right on the, er, campus lawn. Well, come Hell Night he's charged with shooting a puppy, and this he refuses to do (some OTHER kid does it) so Bob is shunned and humiliated and bullied, mostly by frat BMOC Russell Johnson(!), star QB and son of the school's most illustrious alumnus. Well, when Bobby Sherman ends up dead (uh, wait, not THAT Bobby Sherman), friendly professor Henreid investigates, and gets framed for rape(!) as his reward. Gosh! The Back Story Yeah, so, Mr. Henreid had read a story in a magazine about some kid who died as a result of fraternity hazing, and thought it a swell story, to star himself as a concerned college professor who runs afoul of the Fraternity from Hell. Trouble is, no studio wanted to make it. I'm guessing that more than one studio head said, 'Uh, Paul, maybe if you lost the scene where the boy murders the puppy' but more likely they said, 'Can you get Ingrid Bergman to play your wife?' Anyway, he financed the picture with his own deutschmarks and then shopped the picture around Hollywood and they all said, 'You killed that puppy!!!!' and passed. And so, destitute and forlorn, he sold the whole thing to Bob Lippert, who released it as the stirring fraternity drama For Men Only and grossed about two dollars, tops. So he re-released it with the poster you see here, which has about as much relevance to the film itself as if he'd have placed a picture of Francis the Talking Mule playing ping pong with Eleanor Roosevelt on the poster, but what th' heck. Million-dollar Dialog: Henreid's Pal, giving the prof good advice: 'There's NOTHING we can accomplish by STORMING the Board of Regents!!!' This isn't a bad movie, and the contemporary reviews were surprisingly positive, but... The darn thing is more than 90 min. long, and the main drama doesn't come along until we're nearly 50 min. into this thing. That's what happens when you produce AND direct your own film, I'm thinkin'. On the plus side, this is an early part for Vera Miles (maybe her first) and the film that Hitchcock saw and was so taken by her by that he signed her to a personal contract. (Funny, he didn't make the same offer to Russ Johnson.) The VCI DVD is sans any bonus material whatsoever, unusual for their Lippert releases. Cuttin' corners? They should've asked me to do commentary. Ah, the stories I could tell....