Wednesday, July 05, 2017


Jelke (George Zucco) goes into a fleabag hotel, skulks around a bit, then enters Joe Wells' room, shooting him and stealing a portfolio of gems worth a million dollars. Jelke leaves but Joe, still clinging to life, drags himself out of the hotel to the alley behind the Last Gangster Wax Museum and dies there, leaving a trail of blood. A cop named Murphy finds the body—Joe was a notorious crook who hadn't been seen for five years and was presumed dead—and calls his precinct, but when he goes back to get Joe, the body is gone. Reporter Sue Gallagher (Ann Savage) has found the body and props it up in a poker game display in the museum, hoping to keep Joe from the cops until she has time to enter an exclusive story for her paper. Also on the scene: Mr. Miggs, the owner of the museum; Clutch, his malapropism-inclined assistant; and Pete Willis (William Gargan, pictured), a rival reporter who can't decide whether to try and outsmart Sue or help her with her story—and win her heart while he's at it.

This B-thriller has a very cheap look but the plot (a corpse that keeps disappearing and appearing) is a little ahead of its time, and the acting is decent all around. The all-in-one-night setting gives it a pleasing unity even if some of the antics involving the body (which we rarely see) are unmotivated. Gargan and Savage are a nice lead duo though the romance element is lacking. Zucco doesn't get much to do but I always like seeing him. Surprisingly, I liked eternal Bowery Boy Leo Gorcey as Clutch—he handled his wordplay well: when someone needs glasses, he says, "I'd advise you to see an optimist"; he wants the museum patrons to "get proper enumeration for their money"; most politically incorrectly, he says of a woman who has gone to bed, "She's retarded for the evening." A solid hour of entertainment for fans of second-feature flicks. [YouTube]

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