Friday, March 20, 2015


"America needs True Dawson!" is the slogan of the post-war political group United Defenders, supposedly a veterans' rights organization but actually a fascist group using the threat of violence against corporations to get extortion money. Ann (Nancy Coleman) is the UD secretary in Los Angeles but she's actually an undercover reporter from Chicago looking to break a big story on the group. She's called back to Chicago just as some UD members are getting suspicious of her, gets in an auto accident when her cab is followed, and winds up with amnesia: she remembers that she works for UD but forgets that she's a reporter. Her fiancĂ© Steve (Michael O'Shea) arrives to take her back to L.A., but in reality he's an FBI agent who has also been investigating UD. By the time she gets her memory back, she and Steve are both in danger from Dawson's thugs who know the truth about them. This B-thriller has an interesting premise and begins well, but the weak script and so-so acting bring it down to average. Coleman and O'Shea (pictured at right) are OK, and Sheldon Leonard does his thug bit quite well. Emory Parnell is a colorless True Dawson, never making the character rise above mildly menacing—I'd like to have seen someone like Tom Neal or Lawrence Tierney give this part some teeth. UD's philosophies remain vague, and more concrete political content might have made things more interesting. Made by Monogram, a Poverty Row studio, it looks more like Warner Bros. B-movie with its fairly high production values—though some of the action scenes are sloppily handled—and the print from Warner Archive is very nice. [Warner Archive Instant]

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