Friday, June 01, 2007


Poverty Row mystery from Monogram with a pleasantly goofy leading man, hurt by a drab leading lady and weak comic timing. The title character (Jean Rogers) is not really a detective but a secretary to businessman Edward Earle. She has to deliver a train ticket to his home one night, and her slightly befuddled boyfriend (Peter Cookson) jokingly threatens to kill Earle for messing up their plans for the evening. Unfortunately, a taxi driver (Pat Gleason) overhears his threat and later that night, at Earle's house, Rogers discovers her boss dead. Both she and Cookson become suspects, as do Earle's widow (Veda Ann Borg), her lover (Douglas Fowley), and Earle's butler and lawyer. Inspector Tim Ryan (who also co-wrote the screenplay) and his sidekick Edward Gargan (who you'll recognize as a cop from dozens of 30's and 40's movies) provide the necessary comic police bungling while Rogers and Cookson race around trying to clear themselves and find the real killer. If you blur your eyes, you might imagine that the lead pair are Cary Grant and Claudette Colbert, and in fact Cookson does affect a Grant-ish accent. Cookson is nice looking and quite amusing. He made a handful of B-movies in the 40's and did some TV work before retiring, and was married to Beatrice Straight (later an Oscar-winner for NETWORK). Some of the comic situations have potential, but between the very low budget and the weak pacing, most of them don't come off. Still, I’m glad to have seen this if only to see one of Cookson's few leading roles. [TCM]

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