Tuesday, March 31, 2015


In the shadows, a handsome young man getting into a safe is shot at and manages to escape into the night. And though the DVD cover claims this as a film noir, that's about all the noir there is. The man, we discover later, is Glenn Ames (Walter Reed), an insurance investigator sent to Mexico City to check on a claim concerning a stolen necklace. When Glenn stops communicating with his bosses, they assign fellow detective Steve Hastings (William Lundigan) to follow Victoria Ames (Jacqueline White), Glenn's sister, down to Mexico City; they're worried that Glenn has found the necklace and will use her to abscond with it. Steve flirts with Victoria, a lounge singer who gets a gig at the Versailles nightclub, and when she realizes her brother is missing, they joins forces to find him, helped by a gregarious cab driver named Carlos (Tony Barrett). Others who are soon involved: the charming owner of the Versailles (Ricardo Cortez), a Versailles bartender who knew Glenn but is afraid of saying too much, the local police, and a peasant family with a secret.

This is a perfectly acceptable B-thriller, competent and reasonably entertaining, though showing few signs of the talents that its director, Robert Wise, would show years later (THE SOUND OF MUSIC, THE HAUNTING, WEST SIDE STORY). I have a thing for Lundigan and his blond, lackadaisical doofiness so I quite enjoyed seeing him in his element—his character is smart but has to act a bit dumb for a while until he knows who to trust. White (pictured above with Lundigan) is totally average—fine but not memorable. I like Cortez but he is criminally underused here. Barrett makes a good impression in a small but important role; he went on to write for TV (Honey West, The Mod Squad). Shot on location in Mexico, though honestly it could have been California soundstages for all the difference it made. [DVD]

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