If you like thinking of Portland as a place filled with unusually kindly people, don’t see this film. Inspired by headlines, this low budget exploitation film focuses on the aphids infesting the underside of Rose City.
The advertising tagline read: The Whole Scorching Story! BRIBE BY BRIBE! SIN BY SIN! SHOCK BY SHOCK!
On this they deliver. Torture, threats, screams. Innocent people irreparably harmed. Like 24 —only Jack Bauer never shows up. Broadway actress Lea Penman does, as the blandly sinister Mrs. Stoneway, but her great performance is still no excuse for this exercise in creepy lewdness.
Writer Jack DeWitt deployed his affinity for extreme physical discomfort elsewhere- he was one of the six writers credited for A Man Called Horse (1970), a film in which Richard Harris undergoes a tribal initiation which, well, let’s just say membership in this particular club is restricted to people with thick skin.
Maybe the best way to describe Portland Expose (1957) is as the complete opposite of Wendy and Lucy (2008).
Strange but true: Portland Expose may have been modeled on a bigger budget picture which came out two years earlier, New York Confidential.
Shot all over Portland, there is no way to avoid granting the distinction of “Oregon film” to Portland Expose.