Saturday, May 30, 2009


Behind that drab title is a fun little B-thriller, not about a lawyer, but about a vigilante who goes after the men responsible for the crash of a bank and the destruction of the bank president's good name. Richard Dix plays Pike Winslow (great name!), a rich young man who, under the name The Reckoner and with two associates (Boris Karloff and Paul Hurst), goes about righting wrongs in cases where the legal system can't, and leaving his calling card behind. When the above mentioned bank president is set up by his board members to the take the fall for the closing of their bank, Dix goes about getting evidence against the dastardly villains. There's a somewhat complicated love interest: the bank president's daughter, Shirley Grey, has been in love with the slightly older Dix since she was a child, though it takes him most of the running time of the movie to figure this out. The cops aren't sure what to make of the Reckoner as he goes about collecting evidence (not always legally) until one of the board members is found dead with a Reckoner card in the vicinity--of course, it wasn't Dix but someone trying to frame the Reckoner (and get rid of a board member who was ready to crack), so his vigilantism becomes even harder to pull off. Nevertheless, Dix prevails and the film climaxes with an exciting chase scene. The general situation of the Reckoner reminded me of the Scarlet Pimpernel (a playboy who secretly works for the underdog) and Doc Savage (a hero and his associates vs. murderous bad guys). I’m not usually impressed with Dix's sound work; even though he was only in his 40's during the first decade of the sound era, he always seems a bit lumpy and over the hill, but he does a fine job here. Karloff doesn't get a chance to do too much, but it's nice seeing him as a good guy. [TCM]

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