Friday, November 10, 2006


Nifty little B-thriller, the first in an 8-film series based on a popular radio show. Despite the title, this was not a superhero or detective series, but a suspense anthology (think Twilight Zone atmosphere but without the fantasy elements) which told crime stories with ironic twists. The title character was the narrator (think Rod Serling never showing his face) who would also sometimes comment on the action; once in a while we'd see him from a distance, strolling along and whistling mournfully. In this one, Richard Dix (who starred in most of the films, always playing different characters) is a man who, depressed over the apparent death of his wife at sea in a Japanese attack, hires someone to kill him. The middleman (George Lloyd) farms the job out to seasoned hitman J. Carroll Naish who begins staking out his prey. When Dix gets a telegram telling him that his wife is alive in a Japanese prison camp and is being shipped home soon, he's ecstatic and sets out to cancel the hit. Unfortunately, Lloyd was a cop killer who was himself killed by cops just after setting up Dix's hit. Dix thinks Lloyd's girl (Joan Woodbury) can help him stop the hitman, but she thinks that Dix set Lloyd up, so she's not much help, and in fact endangers his life by involving him in a log mountain road chase with police. When Dix drops out of sight to escape Naish, the newspapers say that he has amnesia and Dix's loyal secretary (the always wonderful Gloria Stuart) tries to find him. The hour-long film moves along nicely, though the climax, as in many B-films, is rushed and choppy and the production values are about average for a second-feature. [TCM]

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