Monday, January 30, 2017


I generally love B-movies and Poverty Row films of the 30s and 40s, but even my patience was tested by this one. I did get to the ending, so for the record, here's a summary. Cop Dan Burke tells police chief Sullivan that he intends to marry Sullivan’s daughter, Diana, though the chief wishes she would marry noted criminologist David Graham. Later, Dan's half-brother is killed during a bank robbery attempt and Sullivan decides that it would not be proper for Diana to marry Dan; his specific words to Dan are, "You'll never marry her as long as I’m alive!" That night, at midnight, Graham conducts a "line-up show" for the cops in which he shows how he can tell the specific criminal pasts of convicts just by looking at them. After the event, Sullivan is assumed to have fallen asleep, but he's actually dead, killed by a poison dart. There are several suspects, as Sullivan had alienated his officers with his recent attempts at cleaning up the department, but Dan is the most obvious suspect. Can Graham crack the case and clear his romantic rival—or does he really want to?

This is only 63 minutes, but it's one of the longest hours I've spent watching a movie. The plot is OK, and there is a nicely tricky ending, but the acting is blah and the dialogue is silly; when Dan is understandably upset over the death of his brother, Diana says woodenly, "Shake off the blues!" I expected her to go into a clunky rendition of Irving Berlin’s "Shakin' the Blues Away" but sadly it never happened. Most of the cast members are relative unknowns (Lloyd Hughes as Dan [pictured], Claudia Dell as Diana, Jim Farley as Sullivan) and I can tell from this movie why. But the usually reliable Reginald Denny doesn't fare much better as Graham, so maybe the poor acting is the fault of the director, Bernard B. Ray, who is also unknown to me—and is likely to stay that way. Things do pick up in the last ten minutes, but not enough for me to recommend this to anyone. [YouTube]

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