Saturday, September 25, 2010


Rich guy Prince Cadwallader Jones gets a job in the District Attorney's office through his connections, but he bungles his first case and gets known as the "Socialite DA" in the newspapers. His boss gives him a relatively unimportant cold case to work on: the disappearance years ago of a counterfeiter named Hyde, presumed dead. However, when some of Hyde's bills start turning up in circulation, the DA takes the case away from Jones. Luckily, Jones and his girl reporter pal Terry Parker stumble on an assault case involving showgirl Betty Paradise and bank clerk Herman Winkle which leads them to a concrete lead in the Hyde case. Winkle is found dead, supposedly a suicide, but an autopsy finds it was murder. Jones suspects big shot lawyer Barret, who is after the DA job, is in cahoots with Hyde somehow and Jones plots to frame Barret. We know that Barret is indeed guilty and that Hyde is indeed back among the living, but will Jones and Parker live long enough to prove it?

This movie is based loosely on a popular radio program of the time, and the handsome and likable Dennis O'Keefe, who plays Jones, is the film's main asset. He and Florence Rice (as the reporter), both pictured above, have an easy rapport; she looks and acts like a B-movie Jean Arthur. Peter Lorre has a relatively small role but he makes the most of it in that naturally sinister way of his. Much of the movie is light in tone--the comedy highlight is a scene of brawling Santa Clauses brought before a judge--but three main characters wind up dead before the finale, which is a slapstick car chase with guns. This is included in a VCI DVD set called Forgotten Noir & Crime Collection 4, and it is an enjoyable little film, but don't be fooled--it's definitely not a film noir. It is, however, a product of rough-and-tumble Republic Pictures, though it has the look of a glossier B-film from Warners or RKO. [DVD]

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