Thursday, September 10, 2015


Sleazy reporter Walter Bard is visited by socialite Janet Bradley (Carole Landis), daughter of a mayoral candidate. He's holding incriminating papers and wants money for them, but Janet could only raise half the money, so after negotiations fail, she pulls out a gun, takes the papers by force, and leaves. Meanwhile, it's just another night at the nearby police station where new reporter Johnny Williams (Richard Crane) is being shown around the press room and Lt. Sam Carson (William Gargan) is warning some rowdy young people to stay home, listen to the radio and eat donuts rather than go carousing at "questionable joints." Suddenly, a car runs up over the curb in front of the station and a dead body falls out, that of Walter Bard, apparently killed by gunshot. Janet's name is found on Bard's calendar and she is called in for questioning. Carson gets a little sweet on her and tries hard to clear her name, though she admits to having had a gun. Meanwhile, newspaper publisher Max Calvert is told that a more detailed examination of the body discovered that Bard was actually killed by poison, not a gunshot wound, but as Janet's father is Calvert's chief rival for mayor, Calvert gets Yager, the coroner, to swap Bard's body for a John Doe body, hoping to strengthen the case against Janet which will hurt her father's chances on election day. In a comedy of errors, Bard's body winds up stashed away in the press room closet. And two more suspects enter the scene: Bard's estranged wife Nora (Mary Anderson) and her lawyer/boyfriend. Can Carson clear Janet's name before Calvert's paper smears her father's name?

This generally fun B-cop movie has a bit too much plot for its budget. The storylines and characters are interesting, but the execution leaves something to be desired. There is a fair amount of action, but leading man Gargan, whom I usually like, is pretty much confined to office scenes of expository dialogue, leaving the supporting cast to keep things moving. Richard Crane (pictured standing, with Gargan in the car), who I know as 50s TV sci-fi hero Rocky Jones, is especially fun as the reporter who finds the dead body, though after being set up in the beginning as an important character, he basically vanishes from the last half. Fred Sherman has a small but crucial role as a boxer who escapes police custody in order to get one last fight in. You actually hear the cliché line, "Get me rewrite, sweetheart" during a frantic press room scene. The print of this shown on the streaming channel Café Noir was not good, and quite chopped up in the beginning, and to make matters worse, the channel took this full screen film and blew it up to make it look widescreen, thereby frequently cutting off the tops of people's heads and making it impossible to read the opening text scrawl. Shame on you, Café Noir! [Streaming]

No comments: