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Cover Girl Killer (1959)

Not Rated | | Crime, Thriller | 14 May 1960 (USA)
A bikini-clad pin-up is found dead by the Serpentine in the same place, pose and get-up as when she appeared on the cover of "Wow!" magazine. When the police find the same fate befalling ... See full summary »


Terry Bishop


Terry Bishop (screenplay)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry H. Corbett ... The Man
Felicity Young Felicity Young ... June
Spencer Teakle Spencer Teakle ... John
Victor Brooks Victor Brooks ... Brunner
Bernadette Milnes Bernadette Milnes ... Gloria
Christina Gregg Christina Gregg ... Joy
Tony Doonan Tony Doonan ... Sergeant
John Barrard ... Lennie Ross
Alan Edwards Alan Edwards ... Hodgkins
Charles Lloyd Pack Charles Lloyd Pack ... Captain Adams
Dermot Kelly Dermot Kelly ... Pop
Denis Holmes Denis Holmes ... Actor
Julie Shearing Julie Shearing ... Rosie
Tony Thawnton Tony Thawnton ... Doctor
Paddy Joyce Paddy Joyce ... Stagehand
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A bikini-clad pin-up is found dead by the Serpentine in the same place, pose and get-up as when she appeared on the cover of "Wow!" magazine. When the police find the same fate befalling other girls featured on the front page they realise a highly intelligent madman is on the loose. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The film, released in 1959, is described as in some ways a B movie forerunner of the more famous Peeping Tom, released in 1960. See more »


Spencer Teakle manages to arrive at the stage door of the theatre where Felicity Young is being held captive after having left the police station just seconds before. See more »


Inspector Brunner: Everybody knows that barking dogs don't bite... but does the dog?
See more »


Featured in Truly, Madly, Cheaply!: British B Movies (2008) See more »

User Reviews

Just because he's a psychopath doesn't mean he's stupid.
9 October 2015 | by JamesHitchcockSee all my reviews

Serial killer thrillers have become quite popular in Hollywood over recent years, especially since the success of "The Silence of the Lambs", but "Cover Girl Killer" is a rare British example of the genre from the late fifties. A maniac is targeting the models who have posed for the front cover of a men's magazine called "Wow!" The magazine's publisher and his girlfriend (herself a model) join forces with the police to help track down the killer.

A film made on this theme twenty, or maybe even ten, years later, to say nothing of one on the subject today, would doubtless be ultra-violent with plenty of nudity, and possibly sex scenes as well. In 1959, however, they did things differently. Although it deals with murder, the film is reassuringly old-fashioned and traditional in the same way as an Agatha Christie mystery is reassuringly old-fashioned and traditional. The investigating detective is played as the typical Englishman from so many films around this period, tweedy, pipe-smoking and normally seen brewing himself a cup of tea. "Wow!" magazine is much tamer than the "Playboy" type of girlie mag, with no nudity or even toplessness; pictures of girls in bikinis is about as far as it gets. The girls themselves are all pretty, sweet and wholesome rather than raunchy or seductive. Even the publisher is not some Hugh Hefner or Bob Guccione figure but a mild-mannered Canadian archaeologist who has inherited the magazine from an eccentric uncle.

Even the killer is a traditional figure, a deranged Jack the Ripper type who is on a mission to cleanse Britain of what he sees as a tide of filth and obscenity. (We never learn his true name, although he uses various false ones; in the cast list he is referred to simply as "The Man"). When we first see him he is wearing thick pebble glasses, a badly-fitting wig and a raincoat, making him look like the standard cartoon image of the Dirty Old Man. (Ironically, "You dirty old man!" was to become the catch-phrase of the actor who plays him, Harry H Corbett, when he later starred in the television comedy series "Steptoe and Son"). This image proves to be a disguise; the killer is rather more subtle and intelligent than the police had originally assumed. Just because he's a psychopath doesn't mean he's stupid.

Corbett's portrayal of this obsessive maniac makes for the best contribution to the film. He started off as a serious actor, even starring in productions of Shakespeare, but was unlucky in two ways. He was unlucky in that he shared a name with Harry Corbett, the popular children's entertainer of "Sooty Bear" fame. Although he did not have a middle name, he was forced to add a bogus middle initial in an attempt to avoid confusion, not always successfully. (According to one, possibly apocryphal, story, this confusion was responsible for the Sooty Bear man being made an Officer of the British Empire, an honour which should have gone to his namesake). He was also unlucky in that the success of "Steptoe" led to his being typecast as a comic actor and made it impossible for him to re-establish himself in the sort of serious drama he preferred. In the later part of his career he was rarely offered parts in anything but comedies.

As I said, the film has a very dated feel, yet it is skilfully made and succeeds in generating a certain amount of tension. When it turns up on television (as it occasionally does) it is worth watching, if only as an example of a very different style of film-making to anything we might be used to today. 6/10

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Release Date:

14 May 1960 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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