Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Bland B-comedy-thriller patterned, like many of the era, after the Thin Man series but with little of the charm or wit of those films. Allyn Joslyn, cast in the male lead as a writer of crime fiction who does some real-life detective work now and then, is the main problem here; though perfectly acceptable as comic support in movies like BEDTIME STORY, he is just not leading man material. We first see Joslyn on a radio quiz show competing directly with chief inspector Frank Craven on crime trivia. While Joslyn's wife (Evelyn Keyes) is listening to the show, a friend (Anita Louise) who works at an ad agency bursts in certain that a murder is going to take place that evening during a photo shoot. The principals in the case include the owner of the agency (Edmund Lowe) who is on the verge of bankruptcy, his wife (Ann Savage, the icy blonde in the noir classic DETOUR) who may be involved in an affair, her rich aunt who has agreed to appear in an ad and who may be Lowe's last chance at staving off his business problems, another model who causes a problem when it is discovered that she was once married to the aunt's husband, and a couple of assistants (John Hubbard and Michael Duane), one of whom wears his sunglasses at night, therefore becoming the most suspicious one in the bunch. The plot begins simply and builds nicely with extramarital flings (or at least desires) on the part of seemingly everyone, followed by the deaths of most of the folks who seemed like good suspects, but eventually the complications become, well, a bit too complicated, and the solution felt to me like a last-minute, out-of-the-blue job. Keyes and Louise give the movie its energy; Joslyn isn’t terrible, but he doesn't command the screen like the character should. Mary Forbes, William Demerest and John Abbott also appear. It feels like the studio, Columbia, thought this had potential to be a series, but there was never a follow-up. Diverting, but not a must-see. [TCM]

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