Thursday, April 17, 2003


A B-thriller, sort of a film noir forerunner, based on a short story by James M. Cain, author of THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE and DOUBLE INDEMNITY. Jeffrey Lynn plays a bank official sent to a branch office to check up on a teller (Roger Pryor) who is going gangbusters at getting and keeping investors. When Lynn offers Pryor a transfer to a better position at a different bank, he balks, then suffers a heart attack. While he recovers, his wife (Brenda Marshall), a former bank employee, fills in for him. Soon Lynn discovers that Pryor's accounts are $9000 short. Lynn and the local bank manager (John Litel) suspect that Marshall and Pryor are in on some scam together, but Marshall insists she isn't, so Lynn puts his own job on the line to clear her. Is Marshall the femme fatale, or could it be Lee Patrick as the mousy (and wonderfully named) Martha Chruch, who is Pryor's accomplice? The cast is practically a who's who of the Warner Brothers B-movie company (also with Henry O'Neill and Henry Kolker, and Willie Best as Lynn's obsequious butler), and though most of them are clearly second string, they all do fine considering the obvious budget limitations as far as the set and the direction--though there is a nice little montage of daily bank operations that opens the movie. Not exactly worth searching out, but worth its 70 minute running time if you stumble across it on TCM some afternoon.

No comments: