Wednesday, July 13, 2016


This buried gem of film noir begins on a nighttime train trip through Arizona when a doctor (Wesley Addy) is roused from his sleep to attend to a sick man. Determining that he needs to be in a hospital, the doc arranges for the train to make an emergency stop at the small town of Winston. Then he gets someone to let him into the baggage car so he can get his medical bag. Once he's back there, he pulls a gun on the guards, gives them an injection to knock them out, and blows up the safe to steal half a million dollars. As the doctor, the patient, and the patient's wife get off the train, we realize that this operation has been planned meticulously. When the theft is discovered, insurance investigator Charlie Norman (Mark Stevens, at right) is put on the case—even though it means he'll have to postpone the vacation to Mexico City that he and his wife were looking forward to. He's paired up with veteran cop Joe Armstrong (King Calder), a friend of his, and together they being the search for clues that will lead them to the perpetrators.

At this point, about 20 minutes in, a major twist occurs which, though technically a SPOILER, must be mentioned in order to talk about the film: the mastermind behind the robbery is actually Charlie, the insurance man. The plan was that his accomplices would get away to Mexico and Charlie would join them, escaping his humdrum life. But after the near-perfect execution of the crime, things start to fall apart, Charlie has to resort to murder, and suffice to say that the climax occurs in Tijuana where Charlie's hopes of getting away to Argentina with the doctor's sexy wife (Felicia Farr) are dashed for good. This is a very good B-movie which deserves a wider audience. Mark Stevens is great as the worn-down anti-hero (he also directs in a no-nonsense fashion)—the character is at the end of his rope and Stevens shows his increasing anxiety by the way he fiddles with his hands. Wesley Addy handles very nicely the bulk of the heavy lifting in the first section as the duplicitous doctor who, we discover, has been disgraced in the past. All the acting is solid, with special mention deserved for Alan Reed (the voice of Fred Flintstone) as the poor slob who winds up dead. You'll recognize Jack Klugman in a small role. Highly recommended. Aka TIME TABLE. [TCM]

1 comment:

dfordoom said...

That one's available on DVD. I might have to grab it. Even if it is from Alpha Video.