Every once in a while a low-budget independent film with a no-name cast will come along and captivate critics and audiences alike with its audaciousness, honesty and ability to transcend easy categorization. In the film industry, they sometimes call this a “sleeper” and, while this kind of movie rarely becomes a box office hit, it can acquire a cult status or insider buzz that saves it from falling off the radar and vanishing into obscurity. Such is the case with A Cold Wind in August (1961), a steamy little adult drama that was targeted for grindhouses and the drive-in trade with the tagline: “If you care about love, you’ll talk about a teenage boy and a woman who is all allure, all tenderness…and too much experience.” The poster depicted two lovers in a torrid horizontal embrace while the figure of an exotic stripper, dressed in an open cape and eye mask, towers over them, revealing her shapely, half-naked body.
On the surface, A Cold Wind in August was clearly promoted as an exploitation film and the film, a directorial debut for Alexander Singer, is a slightly sordid melodrama about a short, intense affair between a teenage boy and an older woman, who hides her professional occupation from him; she’s a stripper but he thinks she’s a model. Most of the film takes place in a low-rent apartment house in an economically depressed New York neighborhood where Vito (Scott Marlowe), the super’s son, is the all-round handyman and Iris (Lola Albright) is a resident who needs someone to fix her broken air-conditioner. The sweltering heat of an August in New York City is visually conveyed through the sweating bodies, table fans, and underpopulated streets that are juxtaposed against the type of heat generated between Vito and his seductive neighbor once they meet. What starts out as a casual fling for Iris, however, turns into a passionate, all-consuming sexual awakening for the older woman who tries to resist her growing obsession over this receptive but naive young boy. While the lovers’ various couplings are tame by today’s standards and offer no nudity, there is a frank, raw quality to the dialogue and performances that captures the film’s primary focus – carnal desire and how it can consume you. —TCM
Alexander Singer (born 1932, in New York City, New York) is an American director. He began his career behind the camera in 1951 as a cinematographer on the short documentary Day of the Fight, directed by his high school friend, Stanley Kubrick. Singer himself turned to directing a decade later with the film, A Cold Wind in August.
Although he would direct other feature films, such as the Lee Van Cleef western, Captain Apache (1971), and Glass Houses (1972), a film of the book which his wife, Judith Singer, wrote, the bulk of Singer’s credits are in television. The long list of series to which Singer has lent his directorial talents include Dr. Kildare, The F.B.I., Mission: Impossible, Alias Smith and Jones, Police Woman, MacGyver, 6 episodes of The Monkees, and three Star Trek series: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager.
Singer and his wife Judy have been married since 1950. —wikipedia
A Cold Wind in August deserves some attention. Though the look is 60's TV, the story, casting, directing and the x-factor of Lola Albright bring this film up several notches from what I was expecting. Good sleazy drama and a memorable film character in Iris Hartford. It's a sexy film, from an age when censors frowned upon strippers who couldn't keep their hands off underage boys. Good camera by Floyd Crosby--TABU.