Saturday, November 15, 2008


Reporter Lucile Bremer goes to novice private eye Richard Carlson and asks him to help her break the case of a corrupt judge who has gone missing. She thinks he's hiding out in a private sanitarium so they pose as a married couple and she convinces a doctor to commit him. Once at the asylum, Carlson discovers that patients are being abused by sadistic guard Douglas Fowley. He makes friends with an orderly (Ralf Harolde) and a firebug patient, and soon finds out that Bremer's suspicions are correct, but by then, the head doc and the judge have found out Carlson is on to them, and they plan to have him meet a brutal fate at the hands of a violently insane ex-boxer (Tor Johnson) who is kept in solitary confinement. Bremer catches on to their plan, but can she stop it before the damage is done? This is part of a film noir box set from Kino, and though it is a well-made B-thriller, it doesn't have a noir feel to me, except that many key scenes take place at night. Bremer, who I found wanting as Judy Garland's older sister in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, is actually quite good here; ironically, this was her last film role before she retired from acting at the age of 31. Carlson makes a fine B-movie hero, and Fowley is appropriately slimy. Johnson has a wordless role here as he did in PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. Overall, a solid and well paced film, disappointing only if you're really expecting a film noir. [DVD]

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