Classic Drama Features

In 1985, the principals of Films Around The World, Inc. purchased a library of 178 “B” feature films.  Approximately 2/3 were good copyright; the remainder were in the public domain.  The package had been assembled in the 1960s by industry veteran Matthew “Matty” Fox, for cable television — there were a number of small cable systems that operated in mountain communities, where the line-of-sight television signals were blocked.  At that time, a copyright couldn’t be divided, so in obtaining the television rights, Fox obtained all rights.  As the legitimate distributor – chain of title documents have been recorded with the Copyright Office — they and subsequently FATW gained ownership of and archival access rights to the original film elements, which are crucial for first-class modern digital mastering.  The features below (plus one previously owned by FATW itself) are both good copyright and public domain, with the status — “GC” = good copyright, “PD” = public domain —  indicated below the title; all have been or will be mastered from the original film elements, for video release by FATW’s “Mr. FAT-W Video” label.  There is a separate page on this website, “Classic B PD Features,” which breaks out the features from this page, which are in the public domain.

Some enterprising soul posted the trailer for TWO LOST WORLDS on YouTube, and it is such a hoot you can screen it at the end of this section.  Jack Harris, the original producer of THE BLOB, once related to us the story of how he competed with Sam Goldwyn to have trailers and posters that had more “Sees” than the other; it was distributor talk for “See the ….  See the ….” that preceded each claim of unique spectacle.  At “Four Sees” the TWO LOST WORLDS trailer isn’t quite up there with GONE WITH THE WIND, but it’s a pretty impressive come-on.  You can also try to spot James Arness, before he gained fame in “GUNSMOKE” or appeared as the unidentified mummy-like extraterrestrial in THE THING.

APOLOGY FOR MURDER  (1945)
ARSON SQUAD  (1945)
BEHIND LOCKED DOORS  (1948)
THE BIG FIX (1946)
BLONDE FOR A DAY  (1946)
BURY ME DEAD (a/k/a DEATH BY PROXY) (1947)
CLUB HAVANA  (1946)
COBRA STRIKES, THE (a/k/a CRIME WITHOUT CLUES) (1948)
COMMAND PERFORMANCE, THE  (1931)
CRIME, INC.  (a/k/a CRIME INCORPORATED) (1945)
DANGEROUS INTRUDER  (1945)  
DARK WATERS  (1944)
DEADLOCK  (1943)
DETOUR  (1945)
DEVIL BAT’S DAUGHTER  (1946)
DEVIL ON WHEELS, THE  (1947)
DEVIL’S MESSENGER, THE  (1961)
ENCHANTED FOREST, THE  (1945)
FLYING SERPENT, THE (a/k/a KILLER WITH WINGS)  (1946)
FOG ISLAND  (1945)
FRENCH KEY, THE  (1946)
GLASS ALIBI  (1946)
GREAT FLAMARION,   THE (1945)
HEARTACHES  (1947)
HER SISTER’S SECRET  (1946)
HIS LORDSHIP REGRETS  (1938)
HOLLYWOOD AND VINE (a/k/a HAPPINESS EVER AFTER)  (1945)
HORROR HOTEL (a/k/a THE CITY OF THE DEAD)  (1962)
I ACCUSE MY PARENTS  (1945)
IDENTITY UNKNOWN  (1945)
IN THIS CORNER  (1948)
I RING DOORBELLS  (1945)
THE KID SISTER (a/k/a ALL IN THE FAMILY) (1945)
KILLER AT LARGE (a/k/a GANGWAY FOR MURDER, a/k/a SYNDICATED MURDER)  (1947)
LADY CHASER  (1945)
LADY CONFESSES, THE  (1945)
LARCENY IN HER HEART  (1946)
LIGHTHOUSE  (1946)
LOVE FROM A STRANGER  (1947)
MAN WHO WALKED ALONE, THE  (1945)
MASK OF DIIJON, THE  (1946)
MISSING CORPSE, THE  (1945)
MR. ACE  (1946) 
MURDER IS MY BUSINESS (a/k/a OCCUPATION MURDER) (1946)NIGHT CALLER FROM OUTER SPACE (a/k/a BLOOD BEAST FROM OUTER SPACE) (1966)
OUT OF THE BLUE  (1947)
PASSPORT TO HEAVEN (a/k/a I WAS A CRIMINAL, a/k/a CAPTAIN OF KOEPENICK)  (1945)
PHANTOM OF 42ND STREET, THE  (1945)
PHILO VANCE RETURNS  (1947)
PHILO VANCE’S GAMBLE  (1947)
PHILO VANCE’S SECRET MISSION  (1947)
PLOTTERS, THE (a/k/a THE PRIMITIVES)  (1966)
PRETENDER, THE (1947)
QUEEN OF BURLESQUE  (1946)
RAILROADED!  (a/k/a UNCERTAIN GUILT)  (1947)
RED STALLION, THE  (1947)
RED STALLION IN THE ROCKIES  (1949)
ROGUE’S GALLERY  (1944)
SEARCH FOR DANGER  (1949)
SECRETS OF A SORORITY GIRL  (1946)
SHADOW OF TERROR  (1945)
THE SHANGHAI GESTURE (1944)
SPIRIT OF WEST POINT, THE (1947)
STEPCHILD  (1947)
STRANGE ILLUSION (a/k/a OUT OF THE NIGHT) (1945)
STRANGE IMPERSONATION  (1946)
STRANGLER OF THE SWAMP (a/k/a STRANGLER FROM THE SWAMP)  (1946)
THAT’S MY BABY (a/k/a THAT’S MY BABY – EIN MANN SIEHT ROSA) (1944)
THREE ON A TICKET  (1947)
TOO MANY WINNERS  (1947)
TOWN WENT WILD, THE  (1944)
TROCADERO  (1944)
TWO LOST WORLDS  (1950)
UNKNOWN ISLAND  (1948)
WAVE, A WAC, AND A MARINE, A  (1944)
WHITE PONGO  (1945)
WHY GIRLS LEAVE HOME  (1945)
WIFE OF MONTE CRISTO, THE  (1946)
WINTER WONDERLAND  (1947)
WOMAN WHO CAME BACK, THE  (1945)

APOLOGY FOR MURDER  (1945)

C. 27 Sept. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13574
B&W  66 Mins.  GC 

Director:             Sam Newfield
Writer:                Fred Myton
Producer.:          Sigmund Newfeld
Cinematog.:       John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Music:                 Leo Erdody
Editor:                Holbrook Todd
Cast:                    Hugh Beaumont, Ann Savage, Charles D. Brown, Russell Hicks                                  
“An unfaithful wife starts a love triangle that leads to the murder of her husband.  The wife and her murdering boy friend go free while an innocent man is sent to jail for the crime.  Greed for her dead husband’s money leads this woman into still another illicit affair which brings about the death of all the guilty and the freedom of an innocent man.”  (publicity release) “PRC’s Apology for Murder is aptly named: the production values in this 67-minute quickie are pretty sorry.  If you’re willing to look past the mildewed sets and murky lighting, however, this well-paced film noir is pretty enjoyable.  Hugh Beaumont (yes, that Hugh Beaumont) plays a tough reporter whose honesty is compromised by scheming Anne Savage.  Unable to unwrap himself from Anne’s little finger, Beaumont agrees to go in on her plan to murder her husband Russell Hicks.  They then contrive to frame an innocent man for their perfidy.  You’ve seen this before as Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice, but the actors are energetic and the direction by the overworked Sam Newfield is better than usual.” Corel All Movie Guide 2
            
“Reporter Kenny Blake (Hugh Beaumont) falls in love with scheming Toni Kirkland (Ann Savage) not knowing that she is married to a man years older than she. By the time he finds out, he is so under her spell that he murders her husband which is what Toni had planned all along. City editor McKee (Charles D. Brown), Kenny’s boss and best friend, begins to pursue the tangled threads of the crime relentlessly and gradually closes the net on Kenny. The latter is mortally wounded by Toni, who has deserted him for another man.: Internet Movie Database  

“I too have seen this rather bad production and had a discussion with Anne Savage after. The film was shut down due to the larger, Paramount Pictures, who had just released Double Indemnity a year earlier. The story by James M Cain was actually based on a true story from the thirties. Appology was based on the actual story and not the Cain novel. Paramount wanted to sue the PRC studio because it felt that they stolen the story. This would have crippled the already small production house. And yes, while Double Indemnity is a much better movie, Apology is true to the real life story. “ Internet Movie Database

ARSON SQUAD  (1945)

C. 11 Sept. 1945  PRC Pictures, Inc.  LP13609
B&W  66 Mins.  GC 
  
Director:                 Lew Landers
Writer:                    Arthur St. Claire
Producer:               Arthur Alexander
Cinematog.:           Ben Kline
Music Dir.:             Lee Zahler
Editor:                     Holbrook Todd
Cast:                        Frank Albertson, Robert Armstrong, Grace Gillern, Byron Foulger, Edward
Cassidy, Chester Clute, Jerry Jerome, Arthur Loft   

“This is a surprisingly well-made meller.  It has Robert Armstrong and Frank Albertson in the leads, turning in  expert jobs.  Film is a sturdy programmer.  This is the story of a big city’s arson squad and its efforts to stamp out a wave of mysterious warehouse fires.  They uncover an insidious ring that collects heavy sugar for such jobs.  Film contains vivid night fire scenes, nice suspense and bangup direction by Lew Landers.” (Variety,  September 26, 1946) “PRC’s Arson Squad stars Frank Albertson as an insurance investigator and Robert Armstrong as chief of the police department’s arson troubleshooters.  Albertson and Armstrong team up to solve a particularly vicious series of deliberate fires.  A man has been killed in one conflagration, so the villains have a murder rap hanging over them.  The “usual suspects” include such murder-mystery reliables as Byron Foulger and Charles Arnt.  The leading lady of Arson Squad is Grace Gillern, who emerged as something less than a household name after this programmer was distributed in September 1945.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

BEHIND LOCKED DOORS  (1948)

C. 20 Oct. 1948  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1874
B&W  62 Mins.  GC 
  
Director:                        Oscar “Budd” Boetticher, Jr.
Writers:                         Eugene Ling, Malvin Wald
Producer:                       Eugene Ling
Cinematog.:                  Guy Roe
Art Director:                 Edward Ilou
Composer:                     Irving Friedman, Albert Glasser
Film Editor:                  Norman Colbert
Set Decor.:                     Armor E. Marlowe, Al Orenbach
Costumes:                      Frances Ehren
Special Eff.:                   Armor E. Marlowe, George J. Teague
Cast:                               Richard Carlson, Lucille Bremer, Ralph Harold, Douglas Fowley, Trevor
Bardette, Gwen Donovan, Morgan Farley, Ralf Harolde, Thomas Brown
Henry, Herbert Heyes, Tor Johnson, Dickie Moore, Richard Moore

Good mystery about “… a private detective who has himself committed to a booby hatch where, it is suspected, a political crook is hiding from the police…Before he can complete his job, the crook gets wise and finale winds up with gunplay and brutality as a dangerous patient gets loose and runs amok.”   “Production values are modest but expert for budget allotment… good acting.”  “Photography, settings, editing and other technical functions measure up.” (Variety, September 8, 1948) “When a corrupt judge seeks refuge in an insane asylum, a journalist hot on his trail has himself committed to the asylum so he can get a scoop on the inside story.  Some good, tense moments in this cut-above B movie.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2

“A well-known judge has become a fugitive from the police, with a large reward on his head. A reporter believes that the judge is hiding in a private sanitarium, so she seeks out a private investigator and asks him to pretend to be insane, so that he can get inside the sanitarium and look for the judge. The investigator is admitted to the asylum, and encounters many dangers while trying to prove that the judge is there.” Internet Movie Database
    
“This little b movie , made for next to nothing has more suspense & interest than most of todays so called big films we were completley enthralled especially by Lucille Bremer. a very beautiful actress who had too short a career…see this little gem” Internet Movie Database

An interesting note added by Rudy Grey, the Ed Wood biographer:  Tor Johnson was Bela Lugosi’s Assistant in Ed Woods BRIDE OF THE MONSTER.
        

THE BIG FIX (1946)

C. 19 Apr. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP960
B&W  63 Mins.  GC 
   

Director:                       James Flood
Writers:                        George Bricker, Aubrey Wisberg
producers:                   Marvin D. Stahl, Benjamin Stoloff
Cinematog.:                 Virgil Miller
Art Director:               Perry Smith
Music. Dir.:                 Irving Friedman
Composer:                   Emil Cadkin
Editors:                        Norman Colbert, Alfred de Gaetano
Set. Decor.:                 Armor E. Marlowe
Story:                           by Sonja Chernus, George Ross
Cast:                            James Brown, Sheila Ryan, Noreen Nash, Regis Toomey, Nana Bryant,
Charles McGraw, Charles Mitchell, John Morgan, Howard Negley,
Tommy  Noonan, John Shelton

Average “old rah-rah college story, concerning basketball this time.”  Returning to Norton College, army vet falls in love with girl in registrar’s office, refuses to play basketball to help out team because of emotional scars left when his sister’s gambler friends had previously tried to get him to throw games.  Bad-news sister falsely convinces him she has changed her ways, he goes out for team, and sister and gamblers trick him into thinking he is helping an undercover detective (actually a crook) when he throws a game.  However, star discovers truth before national championship game, captures gang, and goes on to lead team to victory.  “There should be some heavy penalties  along the line.”  (New York Times, May 3, 1947 “A star basketball player is assailed by gangsters who want him to throw the Big Game in this drama.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2  

“Ken Williams (James Brown), a star basketball player on a college team learns that a police lieutenant (Regis Toomey) is the head of a gambling ring attempting to fix basketball games by bribing the players. With the aid of some of his ex-GI buddies, he exposes the gamblers.  “ Internet Movie Database    

BLONDE FOR A DAY  (1946)

C. 6 July 1946  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP454
B&W  68 Mins.  GC 
    
Director:                              Sam Newfield
Writer:                                  Fred Myton
Producer:                             Sigmund Neufeld
Cinematog.:                        John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Music Dir.:                          Leo Erdody
Editor:                                 Holbrook Todd
Story:                                   “Mike Shayne, Detective” by Brett Halliday
Cast:                                    Hugh Beaumont, Kathryn Adams, Cy Kendall, Marjorie Moshelle, Paul
Bryar, Richard Fraser, Frank Ferguson, Mauritz Hugo, Claire
Rochelle, Sonia Sorel, Cheryl Walker, Charles Wilson

Fair Mike Shayne whodunit starring Hugh Beaumont as the  detective and his real-life wife Kathryn Adams as his secretary.  “Yarn deals with Beaumont rescuing a police reporter when a bunch of gamblers get tough with the guy.  Scribe had been exposing the gang as being linked to a series of slayings when they try to bump him off. The Sherlock unravels the mystery, which seems to have more blondes than detectives showing up in some sequences.”  (Variety, July 31, 1946) “Detective Michael Shayne is again on the case to save a woman crime correspondent from the gangsters who want to prevent her from publishing damning exposes.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2

“A newspaper reporter keeps writing articles attacking the police department for its failure to solve a chain of murders, and this nearly leads to the reporter’s death. He call in private-detective Michael Shayne, and Shayne turns up a blonde and a blackmailer.” Internet Movie Database    

BURY ME DEAD (a/k/a DEATH BY PROXY) (1947)

C. 18 Oct. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1277
B&W  68 Mins.  GC 

Director:                               Bernard Vorhaus
Writers:                                Dwight V. Babcock, Karen de Wolf
Producer:                             Charles “Chuck” Reisner
Cinematog.:                         John Alton
Editor:                                  Donn W. Hayes
Story:                                    by Irene Winston
Cast:                                     June Lockhart, Hugh Beaumont, Cathy O’Donnell, Mark Daniels,
Cliff Clark, Sonia Darrin, Virginia Farmer, Greg McClure, Cathy
O’Donnell, Milton Parsons

June Lockhart and Hugh Beaumont star in “utterly silly tale about a wife who shows up at her own funeral… and then pays her philandering mate a surprise visit and accuses him of attempting to murder her.” (The New York  Times, October 25, 1947) “A woman attends her own funeral in this thriller.  She has no idea as to the true identity of the woman buried under her name and so begins a private investigation.  Prime suspects in the murder are her husband and her nympho sister.  She gets help from her lawyer.  Together they solve the mystery.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2
 
“Barbara Carlin attends her own funeral and returns home suspecting that her husband, Rod Carlin, had tried to do away with her, and is also (rightfully) curious as to just who was the woman buried under her name. She learns that the victim was glamor girl Helen Lawrence, with whom her husband had been having an affair. Complications come from her sister Rusty, who, it turns out, is not her real sister and also doesn’t like her a whole lot, and from a dim-witted prize fighter, George Mandley. The family attorney, Michael Dunn, stands around and provides little in the way of help or reason for being there, until…  “ Internet Movie Database

“An inferno against a night sky opens Bury Me Dead, with the whinnying of high-strung horses as they’re being led from their burning stable. Still inside the tinderbox, all those present assume, is a well-to-do young married woman (June Lockhart). But later, at the burial, a mysterious veiled mourner hitches a ride home with family lawyer Hugh Beaumont and reveals herself to be the presumed contents of the casket.

She does her own version of the dance of the seven veils by dramatically appearing to her various survivors, who greet her re-emergence with a multicolored outbursts of consternation, shock and relief. (Lockhart’s such a sweetie she can’t bring this off with the panache it demands.) Among the surprised are her husband Mark Daniels, whom she suspects of setting the fire, and her spoiled and wilful kid sister Cathy O’Donnell (who oddly takes top billing). One by one, they and others relate to the police, in flashback, their own recollections of the night of the fire. One big question remains: Whose remains were laid to rest?

Starting off with a great premise – the fantasy of being present at one’s own funeral – Bury Me Dead soon finds itself running low on ingenuity. Not completely out, just low. On the plus side, it boasts expectedly fine cinematography courtesy of John Alton, just before he embarked upon his legendary collaboration with director Anthony Mann. But here the director was Bernard Vorhaus, nearing the end of his humdrum career if not of his life, which would last almost half a century after his last movie (he fell victim to the Hollywood blacklist and relocated to England).

In a style inexplicably popular in crime programmers of the late ‘30s and early ‘40s, Vorhaus decides to leaven the homicides with laughs. Yet Bury Me Dead manages to pull short of the brink of one of those ghastly slapstick mysteries – not by much, but still short. (As a beef-witted prizefighter, Greg McClure shoulders most of the ungainly comedy on his very broad frame.) With its pleasant but low-voltage cast getting little extra juice from Vorhaus, Bury Me Dead doesn’t quite count as forgotten treasure, even by the forgiving standards of nostalgia buffs and film-noir freaks. But it’s not a disaster, either, in length and appeal about as comfy and silly as an old episode of Simon & Simon or Matlock padded out for a slot on TV after the late local newscast.. “ Internet Movie Database
        

CLUB HAVANA  (1946)

C. 5 Nov. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13581
B&W  62 Mins.  GC 
     
Director:                          Edgar G. Ulmer
Writer:                             Ray Schrock
Producer:                         Leon Fromkess
Cinematog.:                     Ben Kline
Composer:                       Howard Jackson
Editor:                             Carl Pierson
Story:                               by Frederick Jackson
Cast:                                Tom Neal, Margaret Lindsay, Don Douglas, Isabelita, Dorothy
Morris, Ernest Truex, Donald Douglas, Gertrude Michael, Paul
Cavanagh, Pedro de Cordoba, Marc Lawrence, Renie Riano, Eric
Sinclair, Sonia Sorel

Edgar G. Ulmer-directed film about a number of different  characters “unfolding love, hate, and death problems during an evening in a fashionable Latin nitery…. Carlos Molina Orch. plus vocals by Isabelita, who sings ‘Tico Tico’ and ‘Besame Mucho,’ show up as relief. Ditto a samba dance performed by Iris and Pierre.”   (Variety, January 23, 1946) “A kind nightclub owner comes to the aid of an employee who is despondent over a failed romance.  The musical is a cheap reproduction of Grand Hotel.”   Corel All Movie Guide 2

“This movie is very hard to find, even if it is an Ulmer’s one. Produced by PRC company and starring Tom Neal, we can consider it as a sort of poor man’s Grand Hotel, that takes place in Havana, of course. The topic is not very interesting, a mystery mixed with romance and musical. Only the climax is really not bad. But I was very glad that the running time was only 63 minutes. That’s not the best Ulmer movie ever. Far from that. But if you are a great PRC films fan, try it anyway. Or for the warm Caribbean nights atmosphere. You can also hear, in this movie, some well known songs.” Internet Movie Database.

COBRA STRIKES, THE (a/k/a CRIME WITHOUT CLUES) (1948)

C. 24 Apr. 1948  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1680
B&W  62 Mins.  GC 
   
Director:                     Charles F. “Chuck”  Reisner
Writer:                         Eugene Conrad
Producer:                    David L. Stephenson
Cinematog.:                Guy Roe
Composer:                  Albert Glasser
Editor:                        Louis H. Sackin
Cast:                           Sheila Ryan, Leslie Brooks, Richard Fraser, Herbert Heyes, Philip Ahn, Pat
Flaherty, Lyle Latell, Richard Loo, Fred Nurney, James Seay, George Sorel 

Whodunit.  “Film gets underway with the attempted assassination of a doctor… who has just invented a medical instrument which can be a boon to mankind or, conversely, annihilate mankind.  [The doctor] is relieved of his invention when shot and shortly after a series of murders occur.  Newspaper columnist Richard Fraser tackles the case and is led to the criminal via a hoked up clue.  Murderer, apprehended, reveals that he is after jewels unobtainable without murder.”  (Variety,  May 19, 1948) “In this thriller, a woman gets assistance from a snoopy newspaper columnist as she tries to catch a thief who is after her father’s inventions.”   Corel All Movie Guide 2

COMMAND PERFORMANCE, THE  (1931)

C. 24 Jan. 1931  Tiffany Productions, Inc.  LP1936
B&W  81 Mins.  PD   

Director:                    Sinclair Hill
Writers:                     Michael Hankinson, Sinclair Hill, George Pearson
Producer:                  Harcourt Templeman
Cinematog.:              Cyril Bristow
Story:                        C. Stafford Dickens
Cast:                          Lilli Palmer, Arthur Tracy, Finlay Currie, Jack Melford, Mark Daly, Phyliss
Stanley, Julien Vedey

Filmed version of a stage play “… just misses….Stage play was liked.  This may be reproduced too closely … There’s very  little picture screen latitude. Tells about an actor who slugged a prince.  The Queen-mother wanted to see the one person who gave her boy and two companions such a bad beating.  When the actor, who looks muchly like the prince, appears he is ordered to  make love and become engaged to the princess of the other little kingdom.  The royal bunch at home advised him the princess he is going to woo is a pretty tough dame…. But the actor and the princess, the latter quite demure afar away from her long distance billing,  fall in love. They become engaged.  All returning to the first kingly home ground, the genuine prince vamps, renouncing the throne, family and anything else rather  than marry the bad girl.  The actor is then accepted as the Queen-mother’s son, marrying the girl as per schedule as the royal prince.  Acknowledging the story is a royal prune, still it is romantic, with Hamilton in the dual role.  For the actor he at first wears a mustache, but shaves it off when becoming the prince’s  double, leaving other further trouble over facial  expression unnecessary, other than combing the hair differently for each.” (Variety, March 18, 1931) 

“In Command Performance, Arthur Tracy playing himself, is getting rather run down. During a performance while singing Londonderry Air {Oh Danny Boy) he breaks down hitting that high note which with his range should have been within reach. The audience helps him out to finish the song. The doctor says rest and Tracy agrees. But he leaves manager Finlay Currie without too much cash and no check book. He can’t get too far on it. Never mind, he makes the acquaintance of a traveling band of gypsies. And of course falls for the lovely Lilli Palmer the daughter of the gypsy chief, Julian Vadey. There certainly was no stretch on any acting talent with Tracy playing himself, but he’s a charming sort and it’s not hard to imagine his popularity on both sides of the pond. In the early Thirties he was a rival to Bing Crosby, Russ Columbo, and Rudy Vallee as a radio singer in the United States. However his description of his own voice as a ‘Baritenor’ is pretty accurate, he had an astonishing range. Unlike those contemporaries I named, Tracy had operatic training, calling him a crooner would be most inaccurate. In fact the big production number of Command Performance is Tracy doing an English version of the The Toreador Song from Carmen.

There’s a very droll performance by Mark Daly who plays an amiable chicken thief who falls in with the gypsies and becomes a rival of sorts for Lilli Palmer. Young Rae Collet is very cute as the little girl who becomes attached to Tracy and to whom he sings A Whistling Gypsy Lullaby. Very similar to the scene Bing Crosby did with Edith Fellows in Pennies from Heaven. I didn’t recognize him at first because he used an American accent, but Finlay Currie as the manager was interesting. Interesting because I always like hearing in foreign films what we sound like to another culture.  For those who want to check out the man known as The Street Singer, Command Performance is recommended. “ Internet Movie Database  

CRIME, INC.  (a/k/a CRIME INCORPORATED) (1945)

C. 16 Mar. P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13171
B&W  76 Mins.  PD 

Director:                       Lew Landers
Writer:                          Ray Schrock
Producer:                     Martin Mooney
Cinematog.:                James Brown
Music, Lyrics:             Ray Evans, Jay Livingston
Editor:                         Roy Livingston
Cast:                            Leo Carrillo, Tom Neal, Lionel Atwill, Sheldon Leonard, Don Beddoe,
George Meeker, Grant Mitchell, Danny Morton, Rod Rogers, Harry
Shannon, Martha Tilton, Virginia Vale

“…rather tiresome gangster item dealing with the juicer Prohibition days of hoodlumism… title a paraphrase on Murder, Inc., coined by a N.Y. newspaper during cleanup of Brooklyn mobsters…”  “Story is built around a crime syndicate whose chairman is supposedly a respected citizen and, at the moment, foreman of a grand jury.  Numerous killings…”  Newspaper reporter “plays around with gangsters, knows their every move, and walks into the Police Commissioner’s office without even  knocking…. Martha Tilton… sings two numbers… Leo  Carrillo, Lionel Atwill, Grant Mitchell, Sheldon  Leonard, Harry Shannon acquit themselves creditably.”   (Variety, June 22, 1945)  “The story holds no surprises, rival gunmen exterminate each other methodically, and stooges are as plentiful as ever in the district attorney’s office and the grand jury chambers.”  (The  New York Times, June 23, 1945)  “A foreword by J. Edgar Hoover states that such exposes are good for the public conscience; but in this film the stock characters, shallow plot and abundance of gun play take the spotlight away from any message it might have.”  (New York Herald Tribune,  June 23, 1945)

“This gangster film is set during Prohibition.  It tells the story of an “upstanding” citizen who leads a double life.  He is both a foreman of the grand jury and chairman of the crime syndicate.  His secret is revealed by a nosy reporter.”   Corel All Movie Guide 2
        
“Mobster Bugs Kelley stubbornly refuses to become part of the syndicate that rules organized crime like a business in the city. He further antagonizes “Crime Inc.” by kidnapping Tony Marlowe, one of the syndicate’s most important members, and holding him for ransom. When crusading reporter Mike Egan begins dating Kelley’s sister Betty, a nightclub singer, Kelley begins feeding him information on the workings of the criminal organization. Although Crime Inc. is being investigated by a Grand Jury, it keeps ahead of District Attorney Dixon’s efforts because it has his secretary and several top police detectives on its payroll. All potential witnesses and threats against it are murdered, as is ultimately D.A. Dixon and Kelley. The organization is finally broken when a meeting of its board contracting for Jim and Betty’s murder is secretly filmed, and its head is revealed to be none other than Wayne Clark, head of the crime commission. Jim and Betty are now free to be married. “ Internet Movie Database
                

DANGEROUS INTRUDER  (1945)  

C. 21 Nov. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP416
B&W  65 Mins.  GC   
  
Director:                    Vernon Keays
Writer:                       Martin G. Goldsmith
Producer:                   Martin Mooney
Cinematog.:              James Brown
Composer:                 Karl Hajos
Editor:                       Carl Pierson
Cast:                          Charles Arnt, Veda Ann Borg, Richard Powers, Fay Helm, Helena Phillips
Evans, Fay Helm, Tom Keene, Jo Ann Marlowe, Richard Power, John
Rogers, Roberta Smith, George Sorel, Forrest Taylor       

               
Crime melodrama, starring beautiful Veda Ann Borg as showgirl struck by car of wealthy art fancier who is taken to his home to convalesce.  She gradually comes to realize that he killed his wealthy spinster aunt so he could inherit her wealth.  “… until the last reel, has all the necessary ingredients of suspense, fast action and good acting to make it an above-average thriller, but then falls flat because of a routine denouement.  Modestly budgeted, picture emerges as a fair entry.”   (Variety, November 21, 1945) 

“A New York-bound hitchhiker is hit by a car.  The driver, a successful art dealer, stops and finds that he has hit a beautiful girl.  He takes her to his home and later learns that she was to be a dancer.  As she recovers she cannot help but notice that her benefactor and his step daughter both seem a little touched.  The suspense comes in when she figures out that the greedy dealer is planning to kill all his female relatives in order to receive a large inheritance.”   Corel All Movie Guide 2

“An actress, Jenny (Veda Ann Borg), is hitchhiking across the country when she is accidently struck by a car. The driver, Max Ducone (Charles Arnt), offers to take her into his home until she can resume traveling. Later Ducone’s wife is murdered and Jenny determines to find the killer. With the aid of detective Curtis (Tom Keene as Richard Powers), she discovers that Ducone is the murderer, having killed his wife in order to have the funds to finance his antique collection.” Internet Movie Database

“Not a bad programmer by PRC standards (or the “New” PRC, as the title card purports), thanks to eccentric characters provided by Martin (Detour) Goldsmith, some effective performances, and a surprisingly stately setting. Veda Ann Borg, so memorable in many small but offbeat roles, gets to carry a whole movie for a change, but it’s the creepy supporting cast that makes this a worthwhile time-passer. The obscure director Keays does a serviceable job, but shows no visual flair, which could have helped, and the mystery isn’t terribly mysterious at all. “ Internet Movie Database

DARK WATERS  (1944)

C.15 Sept.1944 Dark Waters Productions Inc. LP13028  
B&W  93Mins. GC   
  
Director:                     Andre de Toth
Writers:                       Marian Cockrell, Joan Harrison, Arthur Horman
Producer:                    Benedict E. Bogeaus
Cinematog.:                John Mescall, Louis Clyde Stouman
Art Dir.:                      Charles Odds
Music Dir.:                 Miklos Rozsa
Composer:                  Miklos Rozsa
Editor:                        James Smith
Set Decor.:                  Maurice Yates
Choreog.:                   Jack Crosby
Spec.Eff.:                   Harry Redmond
Cast:                          Merle Oberon, Franchot Tone, Thomas Mitchell, Fay Bainter, Rex Ingram,
John Qualen, Elisha Cook Jr., Eugene Borden, Paul E. Burns, Nina Mae
McKinney, Peter Miles, Odette Myrtil, Alan Napier, Gigi Perreau

“The dank and forbidding regions of the Louisiana bayous have always made excellent locales for melodramatic films.  The heavy, oppressive vegetation, the ambient sense of maddening heat and the silence are perfect aids to mystery and violence on the screen. And that is one reason why ‘Dark Waters’… is a killer-diller of a thriller–it is set in the Louisiana bayous.  It also presents a creepy story with mild psychological  overtones and it is neatly produced and directed– and well played by an excellent cast…. what it comes down to is tingling diversion for the latter part of an hour and a half….Andre De Toth has directed nicely for mysterious moods and cold suspense, and Benedict Bogeaus has produced the whole show for strictly A-picture  tone…” (The New York Times, November 22, 1944) 

“The guardians of a troubled young heiress attempt to drive her insane.”   Corel All Movie Guide 2
                                                                   
“Dahlia Williams and her daughter Cecelia move into a rundown apartment on New York’s Roosevelt Island. She is currently in midst of divorce proceedings and the apartment, though near an excellent school for her daughter, is all she can afford. From the time she arrives, there are mysterious occurrences and there is a constant drip from the ceiling in her daughter’s bedroom. There are also the noises coming from the apartment directly above hers, though it would appear to be vacant. Is the apartment haunted or is there a simpler explanation? ….

“Dahlia Williams is starting a new life; newly separated with a new job and a new apartment, she’s determined to put her relationship with her estranged husband behind her and devote herself to raising her daughter, Ceci. But when the strained separation disintegrates into a bitter custody battle, her situation takes a turn for the worse. Her new apartment–dilapidated, cramped, and worn–seems to take on a life of its own. Mysterious noises, persistent leaks of dark water, and strange happenings cause her imagination to run wild, sending her on a puzzling and mystifying pursuit to find out who is behind the endless mind games. As Dahlia frantically searches for the links between the riddles, the dark water seems to close around her. But one thing trumps all others in Dahlia’s world: no matter what it is that’s out there, she’ll stop at nothing to find it…..

“In New York City, Dahlia has just divorced from her husband and is disputing the custody of their daughter Cecilia. She has a very restricted budget, so she moves with Cecilia to an old small apartment in an island near Manhattan. She does not pay attention to a stain of water on the ceiling of the bedroom, but once living in the place, she realizes that there is a drip of dark water in the bedroom and she asks the landlord to repair the leakage. Meanwhile, Cecilia finds a red Hello Kitty bag on the terrace, and Dahlia returns it to the administrator. In school, the teacher tells Dahlia that Cecilia has an imaginary friend called Natasha. Along the days, Dahlia has severe migraines and nightmares, while disputing her daughter in the justice and having troubles in the apartment. Dahlia decides to investigate further, and she faces a tragic accident.”  Internet Movie Database

DEADLOCK  (1943)

B&W  58 Mins.  NC 

Director:                     Ronald Haines
Producer:                   Ronald Haines
 Cast:                          John Slater, Cecille Chevreau, Hugh Norton, Molly Hamley-Clifford  
  
“Released in Britain in 1943, Deadlock made the American rounds in the years following the war.  John Slater plays twin brothers, one of whom is serving a life sentence in prison.  The two brothers contrive to switch places, with the bad twin roaming free while the good twin wastes away in jail.  This reversal of affairs naturally has a profound effect on the women in both twins’ lives.  Vestiges of the plotline of Deadlock can be found in the 1957 Jack Palance vehicle House of Numbers.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

 
DETOUR  (1945)

C. 7 Nov. 1945 P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13599
B&W  60 Mins. PD 

Director:                       Edgar G. Ulmer
Writer:                          Martin G. Goldsmith
Producer:                     Leon Fromkess
Cinematog.:                 Ben Kline
Art Director:                Edward C. Jewell
Composer:                   Leo Erdody
Editor:                         George McGuire
Set Decor.:                   Glenn Thompson
Costumes:                    Mona Barry
Makeup:                      Bud Westmore
Story:                           “Detour,” by M.M. Goldsmith
Cast:                            Tom Neal, Ann Savage, Claudia Drake, Edmund MacDonald, Esther
Howard, Tim Ryan, Don Brodie, Roger Clark, Patrick Gleason

Edgar G. Ulmer-directed “B” masterpiece “based on a novel story idea…. Uniformly good performances and some equally good direction and dialog keep the meller moving…”  “Theme is the buffeting that man gets from the fates.”   New York pianist hitchhikes west to join aspiring actress girlfriend, gets ride with gambler who dies naturally en route.  Pianist panics, takes his car, identity and money and drives on, only to pick up woman  hitchhiker who turns out to have previously hitchhiked with the gambler, and realizes that the pianist is not who he is pretending to be.  She blackmails the pianist and is accidently strangled by him.  “Outstanding camera work… score, revolving around some Chopin themes, aids in backing up the film’s grim mood.”  (Variety, January 23, 1946)

“Ulmer’s camera, shackled by his modest production budget, obviously never moves from New York to Los Angeles.  If the journey is made, it is because [the piano player] voyages metaphorically to an understanding of his immediate present through images and the sound of his own voice, through the process of reviewing his arrival and imagining the closed door of his future.  Such an understanding precludes the self-awareness that could reveal to him that his own character has determined the twists of the road.” (Film Noir, Silver and Ward, The Overland Press, 1979)

“Though never intended to be anything more than a PRC time-filler, Detour has in the last two decades achieved cult status, thanks in great part to the auteurist disciples of director Edgar G. Ulmer.  The story begins when hitchhiker Tom Neal accepts a ride from affable gambler Edmund MacDonald.  When MacDonald suffers a fatal heart attack, Neal, afraid that he’ll be accused of murder, disposes of the body, takes the man’s clothes and wallet, and begins driving the car himself.  He picks up beautiful but sullen Ann Savage, who suddenly breaks the silence by asking “What did you do with the body?”  It turns out that Savage had earlier accepted a ride from MacDonald and has immediately spotted Neal as a ringer.  Holding the threat of summoning the police over his head, Ann forces Neal to continue his pose so that he can collect a legacy from MacDonald’s millionaire father, who hasn’t seen his son in years (at this point, it sounds suspiciously as if the plot was made up as the filmmakers went along).  All intrigues come to a sudden halt when Neal accidentally strangles Savage.  He wanders into the night, thumbing rides, awaiting the inevitable arrest.  Filmed in just a few days on a threadbare budget, Detour has a curious hallucinatory quality, rather like a recurring nightmare.  Ignored for many years, the film was rediscovered by the French cineastes of the 1950s and hailed as the vanguard for France’s “nouvelle vague.”  The haunted leading performance of star Tom Neal is eerily prophetic; in real live, he would serve six years in prison for killing his wife.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

[Note: Movie is PD; a movie with the same title but a very different plot was made in 2003; the plot summary for that movie: “While returning to Los Angeles in a trailer through the desert, the driver Neil convinces his friends Tara, Harmony, Loopz, Michelle, Lee and Cashie to take a detour to an isolated mine where it could have a plantation of peyote. The owner of a gas station advises the group to not go to the place, but the stubborn Neil does not pay attention to his words. While driving in a secondary road, Neil sees a girl and wrecks the car in a rock. He decides to walk back to the gas station to call a tow truck, while Michelle and Lee climb a hill trying to get signal to their cell phones. Sooner the teenagers find that they are under siege of a group of sadistic deformed cannibals and they have to fight to survive.” Internet Movie Database] An earlier movie with the same title was made in 1998, directed by Joey Travolta and starring Jeff Fahey, was apparently made by Alliance in Canada; again, its plot is also quite different: “When Danny and his gang attempt to rob the warehouse of a mob boss, they find themselves on the run. Danny goes back to his hometown to find his mother has recently died leaving him the farm on the condition that he must open the dairy and run it for two years. However the gang is double crossed by Mo and the mob begin to hunt them down, meanwhile Danny and his gang consider robbing the mill in his town. “ Internet Movie Database There was also a 1994 movie with the same title; again, the plot is quite different: “A young worker in a travelling circus learns what it means to be an outsider when he is in the wrong place at the wrong time. “ Internet Movie Database There is also a 2008 version with the same title; again, the plot differs: “A man driving on an isolated road stops quickly when he sees a youth with a backpack on the side of the road. The driver glances at a photograph, puts it away, and offers a ride north; the youth accepts. They make small talk, they stop for tea. The driver says he’s on his way to visit his daughter whom he hasn’t seen in a year; he has flowers on the back seat. The youth says he has no family or friends – he confesses that when he looks at someone, he can see how and when they’ll die. The film occasionally jumps ahead to events later that day. What’s going on?” Internet Movie Database 

The remake that actually was a remake, was made in 1992, by Wade Williams, and is sometimes called ‘Wade Williams’ Detour”; he secured rights (maybe) to the underlying novel from Martin Goldsmith.  The review: “This 1992 remake of the original 1945 movie is one of the few remakes that I have seen that is in most respects a perfect match with the original. It uses the same script, nearly line for line. Most of the camera shots are the same. Some scenes or additional dialogue has been added that probably was in the original script, but not in the original movie from 1945. This movie was made by the son of the actor that had the lead role in the original movie. This movie is in color, but keeps with the “film noir” darkness of the original black and white movie. The acting is, to put it bluntly, terrible. My guess would be that most of it was done in a single take. Other than the acting, the movie is fairly good.” Internet Movie Database   There appear to have been several others with the same title, but different story lines.]  

DEVIL BAT’S DAUGHTER  (1946)

C. 19 June 1946  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP396
B&W  66 Mins.  GC 

Director:                   Frank Wisbar
Writer:                      Griffen Jay
Producer:                 Frank Wisbar
Cinematog.:             James S. Brown, Jr.
Art Director:            Edward C. Jewell
Composer:               Alexander Steinert
Editor:                      Douglas W. Bagler
Set Decor.:               Glenn Thompson
Story:                        by Frank Wisbar, Leo J. McCarthy, Ernest Jaeger
Cast:                         Rosemary La Planche, John James, Michael Hale, Molly Lamont, John
James, Edward Cassidy, Eddie Kane, Nolan Leary, Monica Mars, Frank
Pharr

Good horror story “… is well weighted with suspense and will give the horror fans enough gasps to satisfy ’em.”  Rosemary La Planche “lives in fear that her dead father, a scientist-specialist in gland growths, was a vampire.  Coming from England to upstate N.Y. village she takes her troubled dreams to psychiatrist who is tiring of wife he married for money.  Her wild dreams seem to increase under care of the mind-reader and suddenly it seems she’s murdered his wife. Howsoever, not before Cupid has brought her together with son of  slain woman,  who heartily hates his stepfather. Windup is achieved punchily and logically.”  (Variety, April 2, 1946)
          
“This bargain-basement sequel is unusual in that it completely contradicts the conclusions drawn by its predecessor, Bela Lugosi’s 1941 horror film The Devil Bat.  It all begins with Nina, the daughter of the notorious Dr. Paul Carruthers, the crazed, vengeful scientist who allegedly created a species of giant killer bats that would attack and kill anyone wearing a certain scent.  Nina has been plagued with terrifying recurring nightmares featuring giant bats.  Thinking she, like her father, may have more than a few in her belfry, Nina goes to see a psychiatrist who uses her psychosis for his own evil ends by framing her for the murder of his wife.  Fortunately, by the story’s end she not only proves her own innocence, she also clears her father’s name and proves that he was really just misunderstood.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“NOTE: Sequel to “The Devil Bat” (1940).

An unconscious woman is found lying in the road near the old Carruthers house. She turns out to be Nina MacCarron [Rosemary La Planche], daughter of Josephine MacCarron and Dr Paul Carruthers, known as “the devil bat” for his work in cell growth stimulation, in which he created gigantic killer bats to murder those he felt had wronged him. The town doctor, Dr Elliott [Nolan Leary], is called in to treat Nina, but he asks for help from New York psychiatrist, Dr Clifton Morris [Michael Hale]. Dr Morris brings Nina out of her unconscious state and recommends that she be placed in a hospital for a few days of observation and R&R. That night Nina has a dream about a bat fluttering outside her window. She panics and runs from the hospital–straight to the house where Morris lives with his wife Ellen [Molly Lamont]. Unfortunately, Morris is in New York with his paramour, Myra Arnold [Monica Mars]. Myra wants Morris to divorce Ellen and marry her, but Morris refuses, although he admits to marrying Ellen only for her money and position. The next day, Morris returns home to find that Ellen has put up Nina in their guest room. He continues to work with Nina there, delving into her memories of her parents. Whenever she is questioned about her father, however, Nina gets agitated and blocks the memories. Still, it’s very apparent that she associates her father with bats.

Over the next month, they make some progress. Nina begins to remember her Romanian father (played in “Devil Bat” by Bela Lugosi) who left her mother when Nina was 4 years old. She also recalls some of the stories that people used to tell about him being a vampire. She recalls her dreams, in which he appears to her in the form of a bat. She remembers going to his lab and finding an old newspaper saying that he was a murderer. Morris assures her that her problems stem from stresses during the war, finding that her father is dead, and feeling that she is alone in life. When Nina recalls feeling her father’s presence while visiting the lab, Morris assures her that this was just her imagination, because “the dead do not return.” Dr Elliott explains that a vampire is a dead person who returns to the living and must drink blood in order to maintain his power. He also describes a medical condition in which a living person believes that s/he is possessed by a vampire and must do its bidding, even if it means killing. This appears to be Nina’s problem.

Ellen’s son Ted Masters [John James] suddenly returns from the army. A budding lawyer, Ted falls in love with Nina, even though she is a patient of Dr Morris, Ted’s stepfather. It’s just a case of nervous exhaustion, according to Morris. But Nina is still having dreams of bats and of her father, so Morris increases her medications. One morning, the family dog is found dead in Nina’s bedroom, its throat cut by a scissors. Morris is convinced that Nina’s vampiric possession has gotten the best of her. Even more damning is the fact that Nina’s father was said to be a “vampire murderer” and it’s likely that Nina has inherited his “criminal tendencies.” Morris makes plans to place Nina in a private sanitarium. The next morning, Ellen is found murdered in her bed and Nina is found lying at the bottom of the stairs outside Ellen’s bedroom door with a bloody scissors in her hand.

It’s six days until Nina’s trial. Ted decides that he has to try to clear Nina, so he and Dr Elliott go to the old Carruthers house in hopes of finding Carruthers’ research, which has turned up missing. They find the house has been ransacked and the safe is empty, but it’s when Ted finds Dr Morris’s Chinese “worry ball” on the lab floor that he puts together 2 + 2. Ted searches the Morris house and then Morris’s New York apartment. All he finds is a pill that Morris had prescribed for Nina and a letter that leads him to Myra Arnold. A visit to Myra reveals that she and Morris have been carrying on an affair for quite some time. Also worried that Morris might have killed Ellen, Myra offers to let Ted search her apartment in case the papers are there, which they are. Ted confronts Morris with the worry ball, the research papers, and the suspicion that he killed Ellen and then tried to blame it on Nina. When Dr Elliott and the sheriff arrive, Ted explains why Morris didn’t hand over the papers — because they proved Carruthers was NOT a murderer. He was a great scientist, and it’s unfortunate his bats got loose and killed a few people, including Carruthers himself. If Nina had found out the truth, Ted explains, she would have been cured, which was not part of Morris’s plan.

But the final proof comes in the form of the pill that Ted found and had analyzed at a medical laboratory. It’s a “sodium derivative,” a powerful dream stimulant often used in psychiatry. Ted accuses Morris of using these pills along with the power of suggestion to drug Nina night after night into believing that she was the killer. When Ted also reveals that this medication renders the taker incapable of movement, it becomes apparent to everyone that Morris must have carried Nina downstairs and planted her outside Ellen’s door after *he* killed Ellen. When Dr Morris sees that he has no way out, he pulls out a gun, fires a few shots, and runs out to the terrace. The sheriff shoots him. As he dies, Morris whispers to Ted, “Forgive.”

Now that the truth is out, Nina is cured.”  Internet Movie Database

DEVIL ON WHEELS, THE  (1947)

C. 15 Feb. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP844
B&W  67 Mins.  PD 
 
Director:                    Crane Wilbur
Writer:                       Crane Wilbur
Producer:                  Benjamin Stoloff
Cinematog.:               Lewis William O’Connell
Music Dir.:                Irving Friedman
Editor:                       Alex Troffey
Cast:                          Darryl Hickman, Noreen Nash, Jan Ford, James B. Cardwell, Ann Burr,
Robert Alan Arthur, Sue England, Janice Ford, William Forrest, Lenita Love,
Damian O’Flynn

“John Clark… arrives home with his brand new car.  The  excitement of his wife, Nan… and his children–  Judy…,ten; Mickey (Darryl Hickman), 16; and Jeff…, 24, makes him forget about a tragic automobile accident he saw on the way home.  Mickey’s friends, Tod…, Rusty…, and Peggy…, who have been helping Mickey work on his ‘hopped-up’ jalopy, join in the  admiration of the new car. Clark takes his family for a drive and collides with a car driven by Judge Tanner…  and his daughter, Sue… In court later, Clark finds the judge trying his case is Judge Tanner, who dismisses the case with a strong warning.  Meanwhile, Jeff has become interested in Sue.  Police officers discover the running of a first heat of a jalopy race.  Judge Tanner calls the boys and their parents to court and cautions them strongly against ‘drag’ races.  Mickey promises his father he will not race…Mickey, Peggy, Tod and Rusty go to the morgue to see if they can discover the identity of a ‘drag’ driver who has been killed.  Peggy faints… and the boys carry her out to their ‘hopped-up’ cars, leaving Rusty inside.  As both cars approach an intersection at breakneck speed, Mickey grazes the rear of a sedan and speeds away as he hears Tod collide with the sedan…. Mickey, who has arrived at his home after taking Peggy home, discovers that his mother was in the car which he grazed, and that Tod was killed as a result of the accident….Mickey is brought into court, charged with hit and run driving.  Despite the fact that Nan has recovered, Judge Tanner tells Clark that unfortunately fathers have no responsibility under the law in such circumstances and sets a future date at which he will pronounce sentence on Mickey.” (publicity  release)

“In this melodrama, a teenage hotrodder, following his reckless father’s example, drives too fast, gets involved in a hit and run accident.  Later he discovers that the victim was his own mother.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2
    
“American-International did not invent the juvenile delinquents-jalopies-reckless driving-hot rodders-build it at home-chicken playing genre of movies. PRC and Monogram started churning them out in the mid-forties as part of their let-this-be-a-lesson-to-you genre, preceded by the zoot-suiter and jitter-buggers films, which was better than the social guidance films teen-agers were being overdosed on at school. PRC did at least use card-carrying members of SAG. This one is a sermon against speeding, and Darryl Hickman has it brought straight home to him when he side-swipes a car and causes a collision in which his best friend is killed—the fate of all best friends in juvenile-theme movies including “Rebel Without a Cause”— and his mother is injured. Lots of lecturing precedes and follows.”  Internet Movie Database

DEVIL’S MESSENGER, THE   (1961)

B&W  75 Mins.  NC 

Directors:                       Curt Siodmak, Herbert L. Strock
Writer:                            Leo Guild
Producer:                       Kenneth Herts
Cinematog.:                   William G. Troiano
Art Dir.:                          Kenneth Herts
Composer:                     Alfred Gwynn
Cast:                               Lon Chaney, Karen Kadler, Michael Hinn, John Crawford, Jan Blomberg,
Gunnel Brostrom, Renato Polselli

“One of the recent sinners to arrive in Hell is Satanya, a beautiful young suicide.  The Devil orders her to act as a messenger for him to recruit possible new candidates from earth.  In return for her work, she is promised clemency.  Her first target is a New York photographer, to whom she brings a new camera; subsequently, he kills one of his models.  His death and consequent descent into Hell are caused by the repeated appearance of the dead model’s face in his photographs.  Satanya’s next assignment is an anthropologist, whose present from the Devil is a pick.  He has fallen in love with a beautiful young woman who has been trapped and frozen in a glacier for a million years.  His entry to Hell is assured when he kills the frozen woman, who drowns as he melts her icy grave.  For Satanya, these two missions have been nightmares, but her next assignment brings her great pleasure.  The potential victim is the man for whose sake she committed suicide.  She ascends to earth as a fortune teller and is approached by her ex-lover, who wishes her to read his fortune from a crystal ball. As foreseen in their session together, the building collapses and they are both killed.  In Hell, the couple are assigned to deliver to the people of earth an envelope containing the formula for an atom bomb.  Soon after the formula has been delivered, the human race is destroyed by an atomic explosion, and all are consigned to Hell.”  (The American Film Institute Catalog)

“Satan sends his newest most seductive minion back to the earthly plane to search for new recruits in this horror compilation from an unsold Swedish television series No. 13 Demon Street that stars Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Devil.  Each of the beautiful hellcat’s victims dies in interesting ways, including the one who sent her to hell in the first place.  He too becomes a worker for the big-D, who gives the couple the formula for nuclear weapons with the instructions that they are to pass it around.  They do so and soon Hell is filled to the brimstone with tormented souls.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2

“In this feature version of the Swedish TV series “13 Demon Street,” a 50,000-year-old woman is found frozen in an ice field, and a man’s death is foretold in dreams.” Internet Movie Database

ENCHANTED FOREST, THE  (1945)

C. 17 Nov. 1945 PRC Pictures, Inc. LP13541
Cinecolor 77 Mins.  GC  

Director:              Lew Landers
Writers:                Lou Brock, Robert Lee Johnson, John Lebar
Producer:            Jack Schwartz
Cinematog.:        Marcel A. Le Picard
Art Director:       Paul F. Sylos
Composer:           Albert Hay Malotte
Editor:                 Roy Livingstone
Cast:                    Edmund Lowe, Harry Bromley Davenport, Brenda Joyce, John Litel, Billy
Severn, Clancy Cooper

“As different from the usual Hollywood vehicle as Cinderella’s coach is from the Super Chief, ‘The Enchanted Forest,’ which arrived at the Victoria on Saturday, is a unique addition to the Christmas film scene.  For, while this pastoral fantasy about a hermit who prefers the serene company of the woods and its  denizens to the world outside, may not come off for adults, youngsters should find it as welcome as Santa Claus.  But like Cinderella’s equipage, ‘The Enchanted Forest’ is geared for leisurely comfort and not for speed….The story, dressed in the rich hues of Cinecolor, has the simplicity of a bedtime tale.  Old John, the hermit, has been communing with nature in the  sylvan fastness of a California redwood grove for so long that he is linguistically in rapport with such animals as a crow, an eagle, a frog, a dog and a puma. Saving the forest owners’ grandson from a raging stream after a trainwreck, Old John raises the infant to childhood.  And it is only after a series of melodramatic developments… that the youngster rejoins his bereaved mother and Old John is assured that his beloved forest will remain primeval. Harry Davenport plays Old John simply and gracefully [and other cast members] turn in sympathetic and competent performances. If the trip through this forest is not altogether enchanting, it is, at least, unhurried and pleasant.”  (The New York Times, December 17, 1945)

“An elderly man raises a child from age 1 in the forest, teaching him all about the wonders of nature.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

FLYING SERPENT, THE (a/k/a KILLER WITH WINGS)  (1946)

C. 1 Feb. 1946  PRC Pictures, Inc.  LP84
B&W 60 Mins. GC 

Directors:             Sam Newfield (a/k/a Sherman Scott); Sam Newfield (a/k/a Sherman Scott)
Writer:                  John T. Neville
Producer:             Sigmund Neufeld
Cinematog.:         John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Art Director:        Edward C. Jewell
Editor:                  Holbrook Todd
Cast:                     George Zucco, Ralph Lewis, Hope Kramer, Eddie Acuff, Budd Buster, Wheaton
Chambers, Terry Frost, Henry Hall

Campy supernatural horror story “relates the connivings of a crazed archeologist to protect his discovery of a fabulous Aztec treasure hidden in New Mexico.  George Zucco, the professor, uses the serpent originally posted by the Aztecs in the treasure room on sentry duty, as the instrument to murder a number of innocents…. May provide a few uneasy moments for the kids but will fail to garner thrills from the incredulous adult.” (Variety, January 24, 1946) The serpent “shares the powers of Dracula, too.  As soon as anything approaches the treasure cave Zucco plucks a feather from his hot-tempered bird-snake, places it in the hand of the victim, and then opens a skylight in the cave of the fabulous monster.  The Quetzalcoatl flies through the air like a stuffed goose with someone wagging its long-  dead wings, lights on its victim, extracts all the blood, and flies back to its cage… It is possible that this picture possesses a degree of imaginative implausibility that might intrigue specialists in foolishness.”  (New York Post, April 3, 1948)

“A crazed, avaricious archaeologist uses an unusual means to protect his newly discovered Aztec treasure in this horror movie.  To guard it, he invokes the Aztec plumed god Quetzlcoatl.  All the digger has to do is to put a feather upon the back of the victim and the enraged god, in the form of a prehistoric bird, will swoop down and claw the victim to death until it can get its stolen feather back.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“The demented archaeologist Dr. Andrew Forbes (George Zucco) discovers a living, breathing serpent creature known to the Aztecs as Quetzalcoatl (the Killer Bird God) and accidentally kills his wife by giving her one of the beast’s feathers, causing the creature to track her down and slaughter her. Now Dr. Forbes uses this twisted knowledge to extract revenge upon his enemies by placing one of the serpent’s feathers on his intended victim and letting the beast loose to wreak havoc. “Internet Movie Database

FOG ISLAND  (1945)

C. 15 Feb. 1945  PRC Pictures, Inc.  LP13610
B&W  72 Mins.  PD

Director:                    Terry Morse
Writer:                       Pierre Gendron
Producer:                   Leon Fromkess
Cinematog.:               Ira Morgan
Editor:                       George McGuire
Story:                         Bernadine Angus
Cast:                          Lionel Atwill, Jerome Cowan, George Zucco, Veda Ann Borg, Sharon
Douglas, Jacqueline De Wit, Ian Keith, George Lloyd, Terry Morse, John
Whitney

“Well done” chiller starring George Zucco and Lionel Atwill.  “Story revolves around a man once rich who had served a prison term for embezzlement, and his efforts to avenge not only his conviction but also the murder of his wife. On his foggy island estate for a weekend are gathered the group of men and women he suspects of having been responsible for his downfall.  Other  characters are there, including a former cellmate of the  ex-convict, an escaped lifer who somehow turns up as the butler, the vengeful man’s stepdaughter, and her college sweetheart.  When the doings are over, all involved in the plotting and counterplotting had met their just deserts, and the sweethearts go back to the mainland presumably a happy couple…. Good acting is supplemented by smooth production combining to lift a  murder story that’s not too subtle into a picture that’s above the mediocre.”  (Variety, April 11, 1945)

“In this thriller, an avaricious inventor is framed for fraud and set to prison.  Upon his release he engineers an elaborate revenge.  First he invites every one he suspects of betraying him to his lonely island.  Among the guests is the guilty party and sure enough, after considerable murder and mayhem, the inventor does indeed get his revenge.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Leo, a former convict, is living in seclusion on an island with his step-daughter, the daughter of his late wife. Leo was framed by a group of former business associates, and he also suspects that one of them killed his wife. He has invited the group to his island, tempting them by hinting about a hidden fortune, and he has installed a number of traps and secret passages in his home. He is aided in his efforts by a former cell-mate who holds a grudge against the same persons. When everyone arrives, the atmosphere of mutual suspicion and the thick fog that covers the island promise a tense and hazardous weekend for everyone.” I
nternet Movie Database

FRENCH KEY, THE  (1946)

C. 8 Apr. 1946 Republic Pictures Corp.  LP320
B&W  64 Mins.  GC 

Director:                       Walter Colmes
Writer:                           Frank Gruber
Producer:                     Walter Colmes
Cinematog.:                 Jockey A. Feindel
Composer:                   Alexander Laszlo
Editor:                          Robert Jahns
Cast:                             Albert Dekker, Evelyn Ankers, Mike Mazurki, John Eldridge, Frank Fenton,
Richard Arlen, Byron Foulger, Curly Joe de Rita, David Gorcey, Selmar
Jackson, Marjorie Manners, Walter Soderling, Sammy Stein, Archie
Twitchell, Emmett Vogan, Alan Ward

“Dekker gives mystery drama some class in this murder yarn.” Good mystery. “Exploits of super book salesman [Albert Dekker] …and his muscle-bound sidekick [Mike Mazurki] read better than they film.  It’s still okay program material, having enough cast strength to help the bookings. Physical production has good values and there are moments of topnotch suspense….” (Variety, May 22,  1946)

“French Key is a Republic Pictures murder mystery with all of the studio’s genre trademarks: Good cast, reasonably good direction, fairly good sets and middling story values.  Albert Dekker plays a private eye who is framed for murder.  With the police breathing down his neck, it’s up to the detective to solve the mystery himself.  The supporting suspects include such reassuringly familiar faces as Evelyn Ankers, Mike Mazurki, Richard Arlen, Frank Fenton and Byron Foulger.  Some prints of French Key have been cut from 64 to 54 minutes in order to fit into a TV ‘hour’.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Private detective Johnny Fletcher and his sidekick Sam Cragg skip out on their rented room, but when they sneak back to retrieve their luggage, they discover a dead body on the bed, holding a gold coin in its hand. Fletcher is told by a coin collector that the piece is an old and valuable Spanish coin, but Fletcher soon begins to suspect that the man is himself involved in the murder. Fletcher’s investigation leads to he and Sam getting caught up in a murder and gold smuggling scheme” Internet Movie Database

GLASS ALIBI  (1946)

C. 29 March 1946  Republic Pictures Corp.  LP239
B&W  70 Mins.  GC 

Director:                     W. Lee Wilder
Writer:                         Mindret Lord
Producer:                    W. Lee Wilder
Cinematog.:                 Henry Sharp
Music Dir.:                  Alexander Laszlo
Editor:                         John F. Fink, John Link
Cast:                            Paul Kelly, Ann Gwynne, Douglas Fowley, Jack Conrad, Maris Wrixon,
Phyllis Adair, George Chandler, Eula Guy, Selmar Jackson, Cy Kendall,
Victor Potel, Walter Soderling, Ted Stanhope, Forrest Taylor, Cyril
Thornton

“A cleverly fabricated alibi proves to be the criminal’s own death warrant in exciting new film… A smart guy is  himself grimly outsmarted by fate in ‘The Glass Alibi,’ eventually paying for a murder he didn’t commit on the strength of evidence calculated to absolve him from guilt in another.  It’s a suspenseful yarn intelligently filmed, skillfully cast and well directed…..Douglas Fowley excels in the role of Joe Eyknew, a scheming newspaper reporter who takes over the moll of a mobster  on the lam and is responsible for getting the fugitive jailed.  Although it’s Belle he loves, Joe seizes an opportunity to marry a rich girl given only six months to live.  The fact that she doesn’t die before Joe wearies of the pretense, together with the certainty of vengeance by gangster Hogan, activates most of the thrills.  Paul Kelly is fine as a police lieutenant…  and Ann Gwynne is excellent as the … hard-boiled girl friend.” (New York Daily News, May 25, 1946)

“In this drama, a reporter marries a socialite from Santa Monica with a bad ticker.  The gold-digging reporter is well aware of her delicate condition.  He and his girl friend conspire to kill her.  He shoots her, but does not realize that she was dead before the bullet entered her body, from a heart attack.  He is later captured and convicted.  The detective that caught him was well aware that the woman died of heart failure, but he decided to say nothing.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“An unscrupulous reporter marries a rich socialite he believes is dying of a heart condition, in order to inherit her money when she finally dies. Her health soon begins to improve, and instead of dying, she actually gets better. The reporter and his lover, the girlfriend of an imprisoned mob boss, hatch a scheme to get rid of the woman for good.” Internet Movie Database

GREAT FLAMARION,   THE (1945)

C. 23 Feb. 1945  Republic Pictures Corp.  LP13190
B&W  78 Mins.  PD 

Director:                      Anthony Mann
Writers:                       Heinz Herald, Richard Weil, Anne Wighton
Producers:                  W. Lee Wilder, William Wilder
Cinematog.:               James S. Brown, Jr., Spencer James Brown
Art Director:              Paul F. Sylos
Music Dir.:                 David Chudnow
Composer:                  Alexander Laszlo
Editor:                        John Link
Cast:                            Dan Duryea, Erich von Stroheim, Mary Beth Hughes, Stephen Barclay,
Lester Allen, Esther Howard, Tony Farrell, Joseph Granby, John Hamilton,
Carmen Lopez, Michael Mark, Fred Velasco

“As the star of a sharp-shooting act, Erich von Stroheim is drawn from his singular passion for his guns by Mary Beth Hughes, who, together with her husband, works in the act.  Miss Hughes, it appears, is tired of her drunken spouse and suggests that von Stroheim ‘accidentally’ kill him during a performance.  The smitten trigger man takes the suggestion.  But Miss Hughes, as brazen a package as ever was, hies herself off with another and younger actor.  Needless to say, justice and vengeful sharpshooter eventually triumph.”  “Erich von Stroheim… is both sinister and obvious as the title character….Among the supporting players, Dan Duryea is effective as the ill-fated husband, while Mary Beth Hughes is properly hard as the attractive lady who likes variety in her men.”  (The New York Times, January  15, 1945)

“Erich von Stroheim commands the screen as a vaudeville sharpshooter who hates women but falls in love with his beautiful assistant – who manipulates his affections so she can get him to murder her husband.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Flamarion, expert marksman, is entertaining people in a show which features Connie, beautiful woman and her husband Al. Flamarion and Connie fall in love and decide to get rid of the alcoholic husband..” Internet Movie Database

HEARTACHES  (1947)

C. 27 May 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1136
B&W  71 Mins.  PD 

Director:                 Basil Wrangell
Writer:                    George Bricker
Producers:             Marvin D. Stahl, Benjamin Stoloff
Cinematog.:           John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Art Director:          Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:             Irving Freedman
Music, Lyrics:        Kim Gannon, Al Hoffman, Walter Kent, John Klenner
Editor:                    Charles Gross
Cast:                        Lash LaRue, Sheila Ryan, Edward Morris, Chili Wills/Williams, Ken
Farrell, Charles Mitchell, Frank Orth, Phyllis Planchard, James Seay, Ann
Staunton

“Carrying a top revival tune as its title, ‘Heartaches’ is a moderately entertaining whodunit, with songs, that emerges as suitable fare to round out double bills….  With the story’s locale centered about Hollywood, yarn deals with the career of a film crooner, portrayed by Ken Farrell.  He’s okay with looks, but his ‘voice’ is actually that of Chill Wills, whose piping is dubbed on the sound track. Of course, studio execs make every  attempt to prevent a leak that Wills croons for Farrell.   Complicating matters are a number of mailed threats on  Farrell’s life.  Cops, as well as reporter Edward  Norris, are inclined to discount them as publicity gags,  but are convinced when a radio agent is rubbed out, followed by the shooting of the crooner’s own rep, Frank  Orth. Culprit is eventually rounded up and Norris wins Farrell’s femme flack, Sheila Ryan.  Sandwiched in the footage are several songs, including the oldie ‘Heartaches’ plus a trio of new ones by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent.  Best of these is ‘Can’t Get That Gal.’ ” (Variety, July 2, 1947)

“In this mystery, a reporter looks into two killings and winds up implicating a popular singing movie star.  When it comes out that the singer’s voice is dubbed in by another, a career is almost destroyed.  Things are rectified when the reporter finds the killer.”   Corel All Movie Guide 2

HER SISTER’S SECRET  (1946)

C. 12 Sept. 1946  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP598
B&W  85 Mins.  GC 

Director:                     Edgar G. Ulmer
Writer:                        Anne Green
Producer:                   Henry Brash
Cinematog.:               Franz Planer
Art Director:              Edward C. Jewell
Composer:                 Hans Sommer
Editor:                       Jack W. Ogilvie
Story:                         “Dark Angel,” by Gina Kaus
Cast:                          Nancy Coleman, Regis Toomey, Philip Reed, Margaret Lindsay, Felix
Bressart, Henry Stephenson, Rudolph Anders, Fritz Feld, Helen Heigh,
George Meeker, Winston Severn, Frank Williams

A soap-opera like romantic drama “about a love-smitten New Orleans lass who has a child out of wedlock, secretly gives the baby to her married, childless sister and then is tormented by maternal yearning…” (The New  York Times, January 23, 1947)

“An unusually elaborate film from the bargain-basement PRC studios, Her Sister’s Secret is set in New Orleans at Mardi Gras time.  The “secret” involves an illegitimate child.  Nancy Coleman is impregnated by a soldier on leave, and when she fears that he’ll never return, she persuades her married sister (Margaret Lindsay) to raise the child.  The better-than-usual cast includes Phillip Reed as the soldier, along with Regis Toomey, Felix Bessart and Henry Stephenson.  Her Sister’s Secret was the sort of B-plus fare that PRC would specialize in when it reorganized in 1947 and changed its name to Eagle-Lion.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2

“A WWII tale of romance that begins during New Orlean’s “Mardi Gras” celebration when a soldier and a girl meet and fall in love. He asks her to marry him but she decides to wait until his next leave. He is sent overseas and she does not receive his letter and feels abandoned, but she does find out she is pregnant. She gives the child to her married sister and does not see her child again for three years. She returns to her sister’s home to reclaim the child, and the soldier, who has been searching for her, also turns up. The sister is not interested in giving up the child.” Internet Movie Database

HIS LORDSHIP REGRETS  (1938)

B&W  65 Mins.  NC 
 
Director:                   Maclean Rogers
Writers:                     Kathleen Butler, H.F. Maltby
Producer:                 George A. Smigh
Cinematog.:             Geoffrey Faithfull
Story:                        “Bees and Honey” (play), by H.F. Maltby
Cast:                         Claude Hulbert, Winifred Shotter, Gina Malo, Athole Stewart, Valentine
Dunn, Annie Esmond, Derek Gorst, Eve Gray, Antony Holles, Aubrey
Mallalieu, Gerald Rawlinson, Michael Ripper, Paul Sheridan, Sally Stewart

Interesting English antique, with what were then well-known stars.  Claude Hulbert “attended Cambridge University,…[and]  played and danced in a number of London musical comedies”; he was “Happily married to Enid Trevor, the daughter of the late Colonel Philip Trevor, C.B.E.” and “often appears with his wife on the radio.” Winifred Shotter starred in the stage version of “Rookery Nook,” visited California, and “while there received screen test and a contract with the M.G.M. studio.”  “Gina Malo commenced her stage career as one of the dancers in the famous Albertina Rasch ballet, but it was under her own name, Janet Flynn, that she left  America to appear in France in a musical show.  While still in France she was seen by an American producer, who persuaded her to return to America and appear in the well-known play ‘Sons of Guns.’ It was at the producer’s suggestion that she changed her name to Gina Malo, and with a terrific publicity campaign backing  her, she arrived in her own country heralded as a famous French actress.”

The story:  “Mabel Van Morgan, daughter of a South African millionaire, is sent by her father to England to get information on Lord Reggie Cavender, a penniless young nobleman to whom her family owes a debt.  To facilitate inquiries, she assumes the name of Mary Edwards, and becomes Reggie’s secretary. Reggie tries to borrow some money from Guy Reading, a shifty  acquaintance, and while engaged on the fruitless mission he meets a girl who introduces herself as Mabel Van Morgan. Mary allows the deception to remain unexposed, and when the scene shifts to Reggie’s mortgaged ancestral home the imposter and Guy get together, each thinking the other a good catch. Reggie’s only hope of saving himself is to contract a wealthy marriage, but  having fallen in love with Mary he jibs at making up to  Mabel.  However, after several complications, Mabel and Guy come on badly and Reggie, thanks to the timely arrival of Mary’s father, gets Mary for his bride.” (publicity release)

HOLLYWOOD AND VINE (a/k/a HAPPINESS EVER AFTER)  (1945)

C. 25 Apr. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc. LP13579
B&W  60 Mins.  PD 

Director:                   Alexis Thurn-Taxis
Writers:                     Edith Watkins, Charles Williams
Producer:                  Leon Fromkess
Cinematog.:              Ira Morgan
Art Director:             George C. VanMarter
Composer:                 Lee Zahler
Editor:                       Donn W. Hayes
Story:                         Edith Watkins, Charles Williams, Robert Wilmot
Cast:                          Leon Belasco, Franklin Pangborn, Jack Raymond, James Ellison, Wanda
McKay,  Ralph Morgan, Billy Benedict, Lillian Bronson, June Clyde, John
Elliott, Robert Greig, Charles Jordan, Donald Kerr, Vera Lewis, Emmett
Lynn, Grandon Rhodes, Cyril Ring, Dewey Robinson, Hal Taggart, Ray
Whitley, Charles Williams

Satirical comedy “achieves considerable success resulting in a well produced comedy on an adult level. Decidedly a superior item… The satirical barbs are aimed at the commander of a big movie studio who has a dozen members of his family working for him, a brasshat eccentric producer, and the industry in general which is shown capable of making a star out of almost anybody or  anything.  In this instance the fabulous film concern makes a star out of a dog, and the take-off results in some genuinely funny business.  Best in the piece in addition to the dog, which really deserves top billing, are James Ellison as the writer… Wanda McKay… as the gal who has made her way to Hollywood in the hopes of becoming a star and Emmett Lynn as the owner of a  hamburger stand who rises to heights as landlord of valuable Hollywood real estate.  Lynne’s performance is socko…”  (Variety, April 11, 1945)

“Hollywood and Vine is set in a drugstore located at the intersection of the title.  James Ellison plays a successful screenwriter who likes to do his research first-hand.   Assigned to write a film about Hollywood hopefuls, Ellison gets a job as a drugstore soda jerk.  Wanda McKay plays Daisy, a small town girl with dreams of stardom who hangs out at the soda counter in hopes of being discovered.  Despite its tiny budget and brief running time, Hollywood and Vine is jam packed with prominent movie character people, including Franklin Pangborn, Ralph Morgan, Leon Belasco, Robert Grieg, and sometimes “Bowery Boy” Billy Benedict.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2

“A young girl arrives in Hollywood determined to become a star in the movies, but finds that attaining stardom is a lot more difficult then she counted on. Howewver, she does become a star of sorts–as the owner of a dog who DOES become a movie star.” Internet Movie Database

HORROR HOTEL (a/k/a THE CITY OF THE DEAD)  (1962)

B&W  75 Mins.  U.K production (NC in U.S.) 

Director:                      John Llewellyn Moxey
Writers:                        George Baxt, Desmond Dickinson
Producers:                   Milton Subotsky, Don Taylor
Cinematog.:                Desmond Dickinson
Art Director:               John Blezard
Music Dir.:                  Douglas Gamley
Composers:                 Douglas Gamley, Ken Jones
Editor:                         John Pomeroy
Costumes:                    Freda Gibson
Makeup:                       George Claff
Special Eff.:                  Cliff John Richardson
Story:                             Milton Subotsky
Cast:                              Christopher Lee, Dennis Lotis, Betta St. John, Venetta Stevenson, Patricia
Jessel, Ann Beach, Valentine Dyall, Fred Johnson, Norman MacOwan

“Nan Barlow, a student of the occult, is encouraged by her history professor, Driscoll, to visit the decaying village of Whitewood, Massachusetts. Mrs. Newless, proprietress of the Ravens Inn, is in reality Elizabeth Selwyn, a witch who was       burned at the stake in 1692 but restored to life through a pact with the Devil.  When Nan discovers the witch and her coven, including Professor Driscoll, performing human sacrifices on Candlemas Eve, she is killed as a sacrifice.  Nan’s brother Richard and her boyfriend, Bill Maitland, become worried about her absence and drive to Whitewood, arriving as Patricia Russell, granddaughter of the blind minister of Whitewood, is to be sacrificed.  Bill, although fatally wounded by the witches, manages to throw the shadow of a cross over them, destroying them all, as Richard escapes with Patricia.” (The American Film Institute Catalog)

“A woman researches the witch trials of Salem, Massachusetts, and discovers a modern-day coven that’s still practicing diabolical evil.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2
                       
“In 1692, accused witch Elizabeth Selwyn (Patricia Jessel) is burned at the stake in Whitewood Massachusetts. She appeals to compatriot Jethrow Keane (Valentine Dyall) for help, and Lucifer intercedes, causing a rainstorm. Cut to the modern day, where History Professor Alan Driscoll (Christopher Lee) is regaling his class with tales of witchcraft in New England. Student Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson) decides to study the subject further, over the objections of boyfriend & fellow-student Bill Maitland (Tom Naylor) and her brother & Science Professor Richard Barlow (Dennis Lotis). Driscoll sends Nan to Whitewood (his hometown it turns out), where she meets Innkeeper Mrs. Newless (Patricia Jessel), Jethrow Keane, a mute servant girl who tries to warn her, the blind local reverend and his granddaughter Patricia Russell (Betta St. John). Nan gets murdered by the coven of witches, Maitland and brother Richard get suspicious and follow up, eventually destroying the coven, which practices human sacrifice in exchange for immortal life. In the end, Mrs Newless is revealed as the charred Elizabeth Selwyn, finally fulfilling her fate to be burned at the stake.” Internet Movie Database 

I ACCUSE MY PARENTS  (1945)

C. 15 Dec. 1944 PRC Pictures, Inc.  LP13011
B&W  70 Mins.  PD 

Director:                  Sam Newfield
Writers:                    Marjorie Dudley, Harry L. Fraser
Producer:                 Max Alexander
Cinematog.:             Robert C. Cline
Art Director:            Paul Palmentola
Music Dir.:               Lee Zahler
Music, Lyrics:          Ray Evans, Jay Livingston
Editor:                      Charles Henkle, Jr.
Story:                        Arthur Caesar
Cast:                         Mary Beth Hughes, Patricia Knox, George Meeker, Edward Earle, Richard
Bartell, George Lloyd, John Miljan, Robert Lowell, Vivienne Osborne

Weak juvenile delinquency morality play starring Mary Beth Hughes.  “Highschool student [is] accused of murdering the head of a gang of jewel thieves.  He is acquitted and his parents, who gamble, drink and neglect him, are given a verbal lashing by the judge…. Themed to prove that there really is no such thing as a delinquent child but that parents are actually to blame,  picture’s message is crude.”  (Variety, January 10,  1945)

“In this youthful drama, a delinquent teen attempts to pin his involvement in crime and a murder on the failings of his parents.  When he is brought to trail for his participation in the murder of the leader of a gang of jewel thieves, the judge agrees, admonishes the parents, who drink and gamble, and acquits the boy.”   Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Ignored by his alcoholic parents, Jimmy Wilson starts hanging around with some shady characters. After falling in love with a lounge singer, Jimmy tries to impress her by doing jobs for her shady boss. After one of these jobs goes bad, Jimmy ends up on the run. Eventually, he must confront the truth, his past, and his parents.” Internet Movie Database

IDENTITY UNKNOWN  (1945)

C. 5 Apr. 1945  Republic Pictures Corp.  LP13218
B&W  70 Mins.  PD 

Director:                   Walter Colmes
Writer:                      Richard Weil
Producers:                Howard P. Bretherton, Walter Colmes
Cinematog.:              Ernest Miller
Music Dir.:               Jay Chernis
Editor:                      John Link
Set Decor.:                Harry Reif
Story:                        Robert Newman
Cast:                         Richard Arlen, Cheryl Walker, Bobby Driscoll, Lola Lane, John Forrest, Ian
Keith, Roger Pryor, Eddie Baker, Charles Jordan, Nelson Leigh, Marjorie
Manners, Frank Marlowe, Sarah Padden, Forrest Taylor, harry Tyler,
Charles Williams

Real sleeper about Richard Arlen as a WWII Battle of France vet with amnesia on cross-country trip to find his identity.  “This picture is socko from every angle, from the original story to the production, directing, acting and editing… Wherever he goes, Arlen helps the people he visits understand more intimately, in the terms of their own dead, why the war was fought, why it is their job to carry on normal activities, and how they will perpetuate the life of their loved one by working  toward a happier U.S.A. in a peaceful world.”  (Variety,  April 4, 1945)

“A soldier survives a bombing in which his three fellow soldiers were killed. When he recovers he discovers he has amnesia, and since his companions’ bodies were burned beyond recognition, the army doesn’t know which one of the four he is. He goes AWOL and searches out the families of the three dead soldiers, hoping to find out his own identity.” Internet Movie Database

IN THIS CORNER  (1948)

C. 23 Sept. 1948  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1827
B&W  62 Mins.  GC 

Director:                         Charles F. “Chuck” Reisner
Writers:                           Fred Niblo, Jr., Burk Symon, Burk Wymon
Producer:                        David L. Stephenson
Cinematog.:                    Joseph La Shelle, Guy Roe
Art Director:                   Edward Ilou
Music Dir.:                      Irving Friedman
Composer:                      Albert Glasser
Editors:                           Norman Colbert, Alfred de Gaetano
Cast:                                Scott Brady, Cy Kendall, Anabel Shaw, James Millican, Mary Meade,
Robert Bice, Charles D. Brown, John Doucette, Don Forbes, John
Idrisano, Bill Kennedy

“Prizefight yarn has been mixed with theme of restoring  war-marked veterans to normal activity and it all comes off well enough….Scott Brady, screen newcomer, makes a bid for attention and has the physical appearance to carry off role of vet who becomes a light heavyweight fighter.  He looks like he has a chance with proper handling and more experience.  Yarn concerns Brady, discharged from Navy service, taking up fisticuffs for a livelihood.  A crooked manager gets hold of him and shoves him along fast as a buildup for big gambling  killing.  When Brady won’t go for a fixed fight, the gambler  plot[s] without him.  He frames Brady to make it look like a punch has killed a sparring partner. This reawakens mental block Brady received during service when a blow from him killed a navy buddy.  He loses the fight but next time around, just when Brady is taking a terrific beating, his girl friend rushes in with the supposedly dead man and saves the day.”  (Variety, September 1, 1948)

“This boxing drama focuses on the manager rather than the fighter.  The story begins as a corrupt manager fakes the death of his fighter’s sparring partner after he refuses to take a dive knowing that it will push him over the edge and destroy his career as he accidently killed a man while boxing in the military.  Fortunately, the boxer has a devoted, supportive girlfriend who investigates the “death” and brings the dead partner to ringside at the crucial moment.”   Corel All Movie Guide 2

“In This Corner – 1948 This one has Scott Brady in his first lead as a just out of the Navy scrapper who wants to become a pro boxer. He tells his girl, Anabell Shaw, that he is off to join an old Navy vet who manages a boxing club. Brady tells her that once he makes his fame and fortune they can get married etc. Brady finds the old vet has not managed a fighter in years and the club is just an old rooming house with himself as the only boxer. Brady sticks it out and is soon hired as a sparring partner at a club owned by a mobbed up manager, James Millican. Brady is soon signed to a contract by Millican after he decks a ranked fighter during a sparring bout. Brady KO’s his first opponent and is soon moving up with 9 straight wins. His girl Shaw joins him and life looks good. That is till Millican informs him he is to take a dive in the next weekend’s fight. Millican’s mob is placing a large wager at long odds on Brady’s opponent and his assistance is required. Brady is more than a little annoyed at this idea and tells Millican to get stuffed. Brady intends to win and to hell with the mob! Of course the mob has a back-up plan. They stick a punch-drunk boxer one step away from the morgue in with Brady to spar with. The boxer, Johnny Indrisano, goes down in a heap at the first punch and is hauled off to the hospital. Night of the fight and Brady is just getting ready to enter the ring when a telegram is delivered. It states that Indrisano has died from Brady’s punch to the head. Needless to say this news throws Brady’s game off and he is savagely thrashed, just like the mob wanted. He asks for a re-match in 3 weeks and gets it. He trains hard but the death of Indrisano eats at him. The day of the fight Brady sends Shaw off to see about helping out the dead boxer’s family. Imagine the surprise when Shaw finds no record of Indrisano’s death. She digs deeper and discovers the whole thing was a mob ploy to upset Brady. She hunts down the quite alive Indrisano who is being stashed at Millican’s country house. Of course while all this is going Brady is again being pummeled in the ring. Shaw, the police and the just rescued Indrisano get to the arena just in time for Brady to rebound for a KO. Millican is grabbed up by the cops and film is wrapped in just under an hour.

This was Brady’s second film and his first starring role. The director was Charles F. Riesner, whose claim to fame was Buster Keaton’s STEAMBOAT BILL JR and the Marx brother’s, THE BIG STORE. The D of P was Guy Roe who worked on RAILROADED, BEHIND LOCKED DOORS, TRAPPED and ARMORED CAR ROBBERY. The story is by Fred Niblo Jr who worked on CONVICTED, THE INCIDENT, THE BODYGUARD and WAGONS ROLL AT THE NIGHT. The film was edited by Alfred DeGaetano. DeGaetano’s films include, TRAPPED, HE WALKED BY NIGHT, RAW DEAL and REPEAT PERFORMANCE.

Ex-pug Johnny Indrisano sported a 64-9-4 record as a pro and beat several world champs during his career including Joe Dundee and Nick Testo. He then became a character actor and a trainer for boxing films. He has bit parts in 99 RIVER STREET, JOHNNY ANGEL, THE BODYGUARD, KNOCK ON ANY DOOR, TENSION, BORDERLINE, FORCE OF EVIL, THE SET-UP and about a dozen more noirs and numerous TV shows.” Internet Movie Database

I RING DOORBELLS  (1945)

C. 12 Jan. 1946  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP26
B&W  67 Mins.  GC 

Director:                 Frank Strayer
Writers:                   Dick I. Hyland, Ray Schrock
Producer:                Martin Mooney
Cinematog.:            Ben Kline
Composer:               Leo Erdody
Editor:                     George McGuire
Story:                       “I Ring Doorbells” by Russell Birdwell 
Cast:                         Ann Gwynne, Robert Shayne, Roscoe Karns, Pierre Watkin, Roy Darmour,
John Eldredge, Hank Patterson, Gene Roth [Stutenroth], Harry Shannon,
Harry Tyler, Jan Wiley, Charles Wilson

“Production manages considerable effect for small budget and plot mixes up newspaper background with a murder mystery to offer slight interest to the paying customers…. Plot has [actor Robert] Shayne returning to his old reporting job after flunking as a playwright. Murder melodrama enters… when his publisher has him trying to get the goods on a gold-digging blonde out for the old man’s son….” (Variety, January 2, 1946)

THE KID SISTER (a/k/a ALL IN THE FAMILY) (1945)

C. 6 Feb. 1945  PRC Pictures, Inc.  LP13639
B&W  56 Mins.  PD 

Director:                 Sam Newfield
Writer:                    Fred Myton
Producer:               Sigmund Newfeld
Cinematog.:           James Brown
Art Director:          Paul Palmentola
Music Dir.:             David Chudnow
Composer:              Albert Glasser
Editor:                    Holbrook Todd
Cast:                       Judy Clark, Constance Worth, Frank Jenks, Tommy Dugan, Roger Pryor,
Ruth Robinson, Minerva Urecal, Peggy Wynne

“This is an example of a good, light comedy done well on a very light budget…. Younger of two daughters who’s been brought up according to the psychology book decides she’s grown up and goes after the man whom mama had tabbed for older sister. Judy Clark plays the youngster very well, and the rest of cast supports her capably.  At reception for older girl’s cool swain, the kid, who’d been ordered to stay in her room, crashes the gate by  posing as the family maid.  She gets herself embroiled with a burglar (Frank Jenks) who takes her for a moll working the same racket.  She and the burglar wind up at the home of the matrimonial catch later in the night. There’s no reason for this, but it’s done so smoothly, and the ensuing comedy is so engaging, that no one should mind the lack of logic.  In the end, of course, the bright youngster had taken the man away from the older sister.”  (Variety, March 21, 1945)

“In this comedy, a bookish kid sister reads a psychology book and comes to believe that, according to the book, she is finally “grown up.”  To demonstrate her new maturity she begins chasing her sister’s fiancé.  She then winds up locked in her room during a party held in the fiancé’s honor.  She manages to escape and begins impersonating a maid. She soon meets a handsome burglar who mistakenly believes that she is a moll.  They end up attempting to burgle the fiancé’s home. Mayhem ensues until the young girl finally manages to steal the fiancé’s heart for herself.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Joan Hollingsworth is the younger sister of Ethel and their mother believes Ethel is entitles to all the advantages until she acquires a husband, but Joan thinks otherwise. Forbidden to attend a family dinner given for socialite J. Waldo Barnes, the latest entry in the matrimonial sweepstakes, Joan poses as the family maid in receiving the guests. When her mother discovers her ruse, Joan sneaks out of the house and accepts a ride from a man, a burglar casing the house who thinks Joan is one of the gang. The car is wrecked and Joan escapes on foot, but is overtaken on the grounds of a large estate by motorcycle policeman Michael who accepts her story of being a maid on the estate. Her impersonation is aided by the nearsighted housekeeper, Mrs. Wiggins, who orders her to her room. Inside the mansion, Joan is trapped when the owner, J. Waldo Jones, returns. He decides she is a female “Raffles” who is in need of reform.” Internet Movie Database

KILLER AT LARGE (a/k/a GANGWAY FOR MURDER, a/k/a SYNDICATED MURDER)  (1947)

C. 31 May 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1047
B&W  64 Mins.  GC 

Director:                 William Beaudine
Writers:                   Tom Blackburn, Fenton Earnshaw
Producer:                Buck Gottlieb
Cinematog.:            James Brown
Art Director:           Glenn Thompson
Composers:             Albert Glasser, Alvin Levin
Editor:                     Harry Reynolds
Cast:                        Robert Lowery, Anabel Shaw, Charles Evans, Frank Ferguson, Phil Arnold,
Brooks Benedict, Stanley Blystone, Jack Cheatham, Charles King, George
Lynn, Howard M. Mitchell, Eddie Parks, Leonard Penn, Dick Rich

“…routine meller in which a crusading newspaper reporter tracks down the head of a ring preying upon the GI need of shelter…. Other complications enter the yarn, such as the ring-chief, owner of the major stock in the newspaper, getting his daughter a job on that sheet. It’s expected that [the reporter] falls for the gal which makes it all the more difficult to get to the topper.  It’s worked out by the end of the film….fast pace.”  (Variety, June 4, 1947)

“Soldiers on leave are given shelter and are murdered by a mysterious person who is investigated by newspaperman Lowery in this thriller.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Paul Kimberly (Robert Lowery), a newspaper reporter, quits his job in order to investigate crooked dealings in the local veterans’ housing administration. The editor assigns reporter Anne Arnold (Anabel Shaw) to lure him back to the newspaper. Together, the two reporters expose the embezzling ring and discover that Anne’s father, Vincent Arnold (Charles Evans), is the head of the ring. In true newspaper fashion, Anne writes the story herself. “ Internet Movie Database

LADY CHASER  (1945)

C. 25 Nov. 1946  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP715
B&W  60 Mins.  GC 

Director:                    Sam Newfield
Writer:                       Fred Myton
Producer:                   Sigmund Newfeld
Cinematog.:               John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Art Director:              Paul F. Sylos
Editor:                        Holbrook Todd
Story:                          by G.T. Fleming-Roberts
Cast:                           Ann Savage, Robert Lowery, Inez Cooper, Frank Ferguson, Paul Bryar,
Ralph Dunn, William Haade, Garry Owen, Charles Williams

“Dorian Westmore… accepts an aspirin tablet from Inez Palmer… a total stranger.  It turns out that this pill was poisoned.  Dorian gives it to a wealthy uncle and he dies.  Unable to prove where she got the aspirin. After the trial, her fiancé, Peter Kane… tells her attorney, J. T. Vickers… that he is going to prove Dorain’s innocence.  When Inez reads of the trial she becomes panic stricken.  She realizes that the person she has  been blackmailing tried to kill her with the poisoned pill.  She tells her boy friend Bill… that she must go into hiding.  Peter starts his search for Inez with his only clue that she was accompanied by a maid.  He finds the maid and gains her confidence and just before she tells him where Inez is, he is knocked out.  When he comes to he finds the maid had been murdered.  Through a pin that the maid had, Peter gets a clue to the whereabouts of Inez…. The first break comes when Peter  gets a wire from Inez telling him to go to a certain address.  When he gets there Inez denies sending the wire and the both of them [sic] realize they have been tricked.  Vickers Arrives [sic] and demands the evidence that Inez is blackmailing him with.  A struggle begins and because of the noise the neighbors summon the police. The police burst in and Peter tells the  Inspector that Inez is the girl who can clear Dorian. Then it occurs to Peter that Vickers is the murderer and the whole case is solved.” (publicity release)

“In this humorous murder mystery, a woman is wrongfully accused of poisoning her uncle when he died after she gave the ailing fellow a pill that she believed was aspirin.  To prove her innocence, the woman must find the strange lady that gave her the pill.  A crazy chase ensues.”  Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Dorian Westmore accepts an aspirin from a total stranger, Inez Palmer. She is distracted and fails to take it, but later gives it to her wealthy uncle who dies as the aspirin was poisoned. She is tried and convicted and her fiance, Peter Kane, tells her attorney, J. T. Vickers, that he is going to prove her innocence. Inez, reading about the trial and recognizing Dorian as the lady she gave to aspirin to, realizes that it was meant for her from the man she had been blackmailing, J. T. Vickers.” Internet Movie Database

LADY CONFESSES, THE  (1945)

C. 16 May 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13595
B&W  66 Mins.  PD 

Director:                  Sam Newfield
Writer:                     Helen Martin
Producer:                Alfred Stern
Cinematog.:            John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Art Director:           Paul Palmentola
Music Dir.:              Lee Zahler
Editor:                     Holbrook Todd
Story:                       by Irwin R. Franklyn
Cast:                        Hugh Beaumont, Mary Beth Hughes, Edmund MacDonald, Claudia Drake,
Emmett Vogan, Carol Andrews, Ruth Brande, Jack George, Edward Howard,
Edmund MacDonald, Dewey Robinson, Barbara Slater

“… likeable mystery melodrama with more twists and turns than a scenic railway” starring Mary Beth Hughes and Hugh Beaumont.  “Yarn is woven around gal… who walks out on matrimony.  After seven years spouse [Beaumont] becomes romantically attached to Miss Hughes.  He’s about to invoke Enoch Arden proceedings to have wife declared legally dead so he can marry Miss Hughes when the former wife shows up. She is subsequently murdered and the husband is suspected.  Miss Hughes turns sleuth, hires out as cigarette gal in nitery and gets the goods on  the owner…as the killer.  He gets hep and is about to polish her off when the police break in and nab him… Claudia Drake looks charming and handles several songs neatly in the nightclub sequence…”  (Variety, June 19,  1945)

“In this mystery, a young woman becomes a detective to clear her boyfriend[sic] accusations of murder.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Shortly before she is to be married, a young woman gets a visit from her fiance’s wife, who had been missing for seven years and presumed dead. Soon both the girl and her fiance find themselves mixed up with a crooked nightclub owner, gangsters and murder.” Internet Movie Database

While on the verge of being divorced, Norma Craig disappears. Seven years later, when her husband , Larry Craig, plans to marry Vicki McGuire, she returns and tells Vicki that she nor anybody else can marry Larry. The latter visits Club 7-11 and goes to the office of club-owner Lucky Brandon who reproaches him for drinking too much. Larry goes to the dressing room of club-singer Lucille Compton and goes to sleep while she is on stage singing. He is still there when she returns and he goes to his apartment, where Vicki telephones him with the news that Norma has returned. Norma is found murdered by strangulation and both Vicki and Larry are questioned by homicide-squad Captain Brown but Vicki has an air-tight alibi and Lucille confirms Larry’s presence in her dressing room, though Brandon denies seeing Larry at the club. The denial leads Vicki to believe that Brandon is implicated and she gets a job at the club as a photographer. That night, Lucille is murdered and Vicki is positive that Brandon is guilty. She finds a letter left by Vicki in her dressing room addressed to Captain Brown and Vicki excitedly calls Larry to tell him about the unopened letter. Big mistake.” Internet Movie Database

LARCENY IN HER HEART  (1946)

C. 18 June 1946  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP386
B&W  68 Mins.  GC 

Director:                    Sam Newfield
Writer:                       Ray Schrock
Producer:                   Sigmund Neufeld
Cinematog.:              John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Art Director:             Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:                Leo Erdody
Editor:                       Holbrook Todd
Story:                         by Brett Halliday
Cast:                          Hugh Beaumont, Cheryl Walker, Ralph Dunn, Charles Wilson, Paul Bryar,
Douglas Fowley, Lee Bennett, Henry Hall, Marie Harmon, Milt Kibbee,
Charles Quigley, Gordon Richards

“There’s much ado about a disappearing corpse in ‘Larceny in Her Heart.’  The fact that the body finally turns out to be falsely identified by no means ends the general confusion, even though it  does bring down the curtain.  As a Michael Shayne murder mystery, New York’s current film labors for comedy as well as thrills.  That it is wholly successful with neither is due largely to script rather than players.  The mistake-in-identity  angle is a scheme concocted to cover the murderous designs of a man who hires detective Shayne to locate his missing stepdaughter.  Shayne finally gets suspicious in the right direction, after trailing an elusive corpse, and manages to prevent two additional killings.” (N.Y.Daily News, July 22,1946)

“In the second of the PRC “Michael Shayne” series,civic crusader Burton Stallings hires private detective Michael Shayne to locate the former’s missing step-daughter Helen. Shayne discovers that Stallings himself has had Helen confined in an asylum in order to obtain her money.” Internet Movie Database

LIGHTHOUSE  (1946)

C. 10 Jan. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP792
B&W  62 Mins.  PD 

Director:                   Frank Wisbar
Writer:                      Robert B. Churchill
Cinematog.:             Walter Strenge
Art Director:            Glenn Thompson
Composer:                Ernest Gold
Editor:                      Robert Jahns
Story:                        by Don Martin
Cast:                         John Litel, Don Castle, June Lang, Marian Martin, Richard Bailey, Charles
Wagenheim

“Three people are one too many in the lonely outpost used as locale for ‘Lighthouse.’  When a girl marries one man to spite another and then finds herself in isolation with both, the fireworks ought to be bigger and better, however, than those provided in New York’s current film. Despite the intriguing premise, practically everything that happens in ‘Lighthouse’ is an anti-climax…. audiences can’t help being disappointed in  the comparatively mild maneuvers by which the explosive triangle becomes a harmonious duo.”(New York News,  February 5, 1947)

“A romantic triangle develops between 2 lighthouse keepers and their love interest.  When the woman gets mad at one of the men she marries the other and trouble ensues until the rejected suitor leaves.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Looks like the film that might have inspired Hugo Hass to make one like it twice a year in the early fifties. Connie (June Lang) is all smitten with lighthouse keeper Sam Wells (Don Castle), but he brushes her off and she ups and marries his fellow-lighthouse keeper Hank Armitage(John Litel) out of spite. All three live together in the close confines of the lighthouse and jealously and recrimination rise nearly as high inside as the pounding surf and howling winds outside. It also begins to look like an Edgar G. Ulmer film, if it wasn’t so semi-rational. Sam is pleased with the situation that appears to him to promise action with no responsibilities. But Connie, in addition to rebuffing Sam’s unwanted passes, is actually falling in love with ol’ Hank. Trouble is brewing.” Internet Movie Database

LOVE FROM A STRANGER  (1947)

C. 5 Sept. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1288
B&W  81 Mins.  GC 

Director:                 Richard Whorf
Writer:                    Philip MacDonald
Cinematog.:           Tony Gaudio
Art Directors:        Jack R. Rabin, Perry Smith
Music Dir.:              Irving Friedman
Composer:              Hans Salter
Editor:                     Fred Allen
Set Decor.:              Armor E. Marlowe
Special Eff.:            George J. Teague
Story:                      “Philomel Cottage,” by Agatha Christie
Cast:                         Sylvia Sidney, John Hodiak, John C. Howard, Isobel Elsom, Ernest Cossart,
Phyllis Barry, Billy Bevan, Anita Bolster, Colin Campbell, David Cavendish,
Charles Coleman, Abe Dinovitch, John W. Goldsworthy, Keith Hitchcock,
Nolan Leary, Ann Richards, Gerald Rogers, Philip Tonge, Frederic Worlock

Fair mystery based on Agatha Christie novel, starring Sylvia Sidney and John Hodiak.  In 1900s London, “… mysterious South American gentleman sweeps an attractive London sweepstakes winner into marriage” after answering her ad to sublet her apartment prior to taking world tour with sweepstake winnings.  The newlyweds go off to a secluded cottage in Devonshire, deciding to keep the location a romantic secret.  She learns who he really is from a sketch in a magazine article about a notorious wife-killer wanted by the police of two continents.    Her ex-fiancé tracks her down just in time to save her from her new husband.  “It may well be that some will find a modicum of excitement… But the chances are he will be so far ahead of the story that its climactic scene will explode with all the thunder of a cap  pistol.” (The New York Times, November 28, 1947, and  publicity releases)

“A bride on her honeymoon comes to suspect that her husband is a murderer who plans to make her his next victim.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Cecily Harrington, struggling along on a small allowance, wins a fortune in a lottery. She decides to travel rather than marrying her fiancé Nigel Lawrence. A stranger, Manuel Cortez, comes to rent her flat and she falls in love with him, and they are married. For their honeymoon, they go to an isolated English college where she, unlike the audience, doesn’t realize she has married a fortune-hunting Bluebeard with a few murdered wives in his past. The question is will she be able to repent in leisure her decision to marry in haste. “Internet Movie Database

[NOTE: There was a 1937 feature with the same title, also based on the Agatha Christie story, and two BBC television productions, but this seems to be the most recent version.]

MAN WHO WALKED ALONE, THE  (1945)

C. 15 Mar. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13577
B&W  64 Mins.  PD 

Director:             William Christy Cabanne
Writers:               William Christy Cabanne, Robert Lee Johnson
Producer:            Leon Fromkess
Cinematog.:        James S. Brown, Jr.
Art Director:       Paul Palmentola
Music Dir.:          Karl Hajos
Composer:           Karl Hajos
Editor:                 Donn W. Hayes
Story:                   by Christy Cabanne
Cast:                    Dave “Tex” O’Brien, Elmo Lincoln, Isobel Randolph, Jack Raymond, Kay
Aldridge, Walter Catlett, Guinn Williams, Smith Ballew, Don Brodie, Chester
Clute, William B. Davidson, Tom Dugan, Dick Elliott, Lloyd Ingraham, Charles
Jordan, Tom Kennedy, Donald Kerr, Ruth Lee, Frank Melton, Jack Mulhall,
Paul Newlan, Vivian Oakland, Nancy June Robinson, Eddy Waller, Charles
Williams

Nominated for Academy Award for Best Score (Karl Hajos) 

“Story centers about medically discharged corporal who had decided to settle in the hometown of a dead buddy. Walking toward the town, he is given a lift by a rich girl who had taken her fiancé’s car for a getaway from the man she’d prefer not to marry.  They get pinched twice, once for being in the automobile that been reported stolen, again for trying to climb into the  gal’s country home through a window.  Hero is suspected by girl’s family of being a deserter and is so reported to cops.  But instead of a posse, there come the police band, plus mayor and governor, to greet the returned hero.  Girl who swore she would never marry the other guy had somehow got into her wedding gown just the same, and ends up riding in the parade besides the corporal.  Nothing particularly wrong with any of the cast, but  there is nothing outstanding with any of them, either.”  (Variety, March 21, 1945)
 
“Marion Scott, honorably discharged WW II soldier, in “civies” and carrying a suitcase containing his uniform and medals, is hitch-hiking to the small hometown of a buddy killed overseas, intending to make it his home. En-route, he encounters wealthy society girl Wilhelmina Hammond, who is running away from her stuffed-shirt fiancée, Alvin Bailey and has taken his car without permission. Marion and Wilhelmina are bickering over a blow-out and an empty gas tank when the local cops appear and haul them off to jail on a car-theft charge. Wilhelmina establishes her identity and is released and, intrigued by Marion whom she suspects is a deserter, arranges his release also. She takes him to the Hammond estate and tells Marion, who does not know her true identity, she is Mrs. Hammond’s secretary. Wilhelmina has no keys to the home and they are arrested again when they are caught crawling into the house through a window. This time reporters and photographers discover her identity and plaster the papers with a story of an heiress running out on her rich fiancée to take up with an unknown stranger. Over the objections of the Hammond caretaker, Wiggins, she hires Marion as a chauffeur and stands her ground when her irate mother and angry fiancée rush home from New York with their entourage, including: Aunt Harriet, an old maid who had an unfortunate love affair during WW I; Patricia, “Willie’s” young and mischievous sister; Camille, the family dressmaker, and Champ, Alvin’s physical instructor. It becomes a battle of wills as Mrs. Hammond and Alvin are determined to break up a romance that doesn’t exist, as “Willie” and Marion are constantly bickering, and Aunt Harriet who is all for the pair getting together.” Internet Movie Database

MASK OF DIIJON, THE  (1946)

C. 1 March 1946  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP130
B&W  73 Mins.  GC 

Director:                   Lew Landers
Writer:                      Griffin Jay
Producers:               Max Alexander, Alfred Stern
Cinematog.:             John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Art Director:            Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:               Lee Zahler
Editor:                      Roy Livingstone
Story:                        by St. Claire
Cast:                         Erich von Stroheim, Mauritz Hugo, Jeanne R. Bates, William Right, Denise
Vernac, Edward Van Sloan, Will Wright, Roy Darmour, Antonio Filauri,
Hope Landin, Robert Malcolm, Shimen Ruskin

Horror story with Eric Von Stroheim as a hypnotist who tries to have his hypnotized wife kill her suspected lover.  “Final death battle with the law has von Stroheim barricaded in a magician’s shop, where he meets his end via an illusionist’s guillotine…. aims for deep dramatics which fails to register… however….  could pass as a so-so horror meller.”  Has two songs to set somber mood.  (Variety, January 21, 1946) “Mr. Stroheim stands apart, a solitary rock of integrity, his shaven pate reflecting ever more clearly the unrelenting intensity of his being.  Perhaps he is faintly ludicrous in a setting which demands papier-mache figures; perhaps there is a touch of the dauntless in his monolithic make-believe, so out-of-place but still impressive.”  (The New York Post, May 1, 1946)
 
“When Erich von Stroheim was unable to work directing, he took work acting and turned in some very solid performances. This is one of them.  In this movie, he portrays a mad magician who is insanely jealous and devises a plot to hypnotize his wife/assistant into killing the man he suspects to be her lover.  A classic case of paranoia and backfiring plots, this movie is otherwise uninteresting and the acting other than von Stroheim’s is uninspired.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“A magician neglects his career and his wife while he pursues the study of hypnosis. His inattention causes his wife to leave him for a younger man. The magician them begins to use his hypnotic powers to manipulate people and to avenge himself.” Internet Movie Database

MISSING CORPSE, THE  (1945)

C. 6 June 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13657
B&W  62 Mins.  PD 

Director:                   Albert Herman
Writer:                      Ray Schrock
Producer:                  Martin Mooney
Cinematog.:              James S. Brown, Jr.
Art Director:             Paul Palmentola
Composer:                 Karl Hajos
Editor:                       Donn W. Hayes
Story:                         Harry O. Hoyt    
Cast:                          J. Edward Bromberg, Archie Twitchell, Isabel Randolph, Frank Jenks, Eric
Sinclair, Paul Guilfoyle, Ben Weldon, John Shay, Lorell Sheldon, Mary
Arden, Charles Coleman, Charles Jordan, Anne O’Neal, Jean Ransome, John
Canada Terrell, Eddy Waller, Isabel Withers

Comedy/mystery starring J. Edward Bromberg.  “It has pace, sufficient laughs and performances by cast which, if anything, enhance story content.  J. Edward Bromberg portrays a publisher who is feuding with a business rival. He blows his top after heated argument and threatens to erase the latter, one way or another.  Paul Guilfoyle, the rival, is found dead.  Naturally finger of suspicion points at Bromberg, who has a merry time of  it trying to hide the stiff, with aid of his wisecracking auto jockey, Frank Jenks.  Of course, the audience knows Ben Welden, an ex-con whom Guilfoyle had ‘framed,’ knocked him off, but Bromberg doesn’t find out until denouement…. pace… sustains suspense throughout… camera work okay, too.”  (Variety, June  27, 1945)

“In this comical murder mystery, a newspaper publisher takes desperate measures when his nemesis and chief competitor is murdered.  Knowing that he will be the first person accused, the publisher decides he must somehow keep the corpse away from the cops.  The trouble is, the body just won’t stay hidden.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“PRC produces an enjoyable item here with little funding, a comedic melodrama that successfully incorporates both verbal and visual humour, along with a dollop of suspense, in creating a picture notable for its rare featured performance by veteran supporting actor J. Edward Bromberg, skillful direction, and especially effective scoring, in addition to a clever scenario that benefits from perfect pacing to smoothly advance the action. A whimsical plot requires that scripting, acting, and editing combine equally to avoid mere giddiness, and that is the case here, with Bromberg cast as Henry Kruger, an ethical newspaper publisher who threatens Andy McDonald, his counterpart upon a rival big city (Los Angeles) tabloid, with physical harm after McDonald splashes a nightclub escapade involving Kruger’s daughter upon his journal’s front page. After the blackmailing McDonald is murdered by one of his victims, his corpse is chased from the unsuspecting Kruger’s automobile trunk to a series of makeshift hiding places, with humorous perplexity resulting from Kruger’s attempts to avoid being implicated in the homicide. Director Albert Herman, for his final feature film commission, ably leads his actors in the briskly gaited affair, and manages in fine fashion to balance comedy with sequences of suspense, aided throughout by a splendid score contributed by classically trained Karl Hajos, who adds pages to his prior work from studio stock, seamlessly blending the total into the narrative. Acting is of variable merit, with Frank Jenks winning the Thespic laurels in the role of Kruger’s chauffeur and companion, a typically sharply defined performance from him, capitalizing upon his impeccable sense of timing. “ Internet Movie Database

 MR. ACE  (1946) 
                        
C. 2 Aug. 1946  Tivoli Productions, Inc.  LP570
B&W  85 Mins.  GC 

Director:                    Edwin L. Marin
Writer:                        Fred F. Finklehoffe
Producer:                   Benedict E. Bogeaus
Cinematog.:               Karl Struss
Prod.Design:              Ernest Fegte
Music Dir.:                 David Chudnow
Composer:                 Heinz Roemheld
Editor:                        James Smith
Costumes:                  Greta
Special Eff.:               Robert H. Moreland
Cast:                           George Raft, Sylvia Sidney, Jerome Cowan, Stanley Ridges, Sara Haden,
Roman Bohnen, Joyce Bryant, Alan Edwards, Sid Silvers  

                             
When Congresswoman Margaret Chase decides to run for Governor, she learns that all’s fair in politics as she unleashes the vengeful wrath of her divorce-seeking husband, is threatened with blackmail, and falls in love with Mr. Ace, the head of the political machine known as the “Tomahawk Club.”  Margaret attempts to win Ace’s support for her nomination but he refuses – although he does fall in love with her.  A ruthless politician, she hires Ace’s rival in the “Club” to win her the nomination.  He succeeds, and Ace is furious.  He offers to testify for the husband as co-respondent at their divorce trial. Margaret resigns her nomination, pleading crooked politics are not for her.  Ace succumbs to her sincerity, and secretly arranges for her to run against his own Club’s candidate in the election.  She wins, and to her joy, learns that Ace was the power behind her — with no strings attached. 

“Although George Raft plays the title role in Mr. Ace, the film such as it is really belongs to Sylvia Sidney as the ambitious Congresswoman who wants to become her state’s first female governor. The Mr. Ace of the title is Eddie Ace, noted political boss in the state whose backing Sidney wants. In fact two female governors had already been elected in the USA at the point in time Mr. Ace was made, Nellie Tayloe Ross in Wyoming and Miriam Ferguson in Texas. The script makes reference to both these ladies and to the 29 members of the House of Representatives that had been elected up to that point. It had been done before, but it was still a relatively new phenomenon. For a smart political boss Raft sure gets his hormones involved in his decision making. His problem with Sidney is that she’s tough and independent minded and won’t take his orders or anything else from him. Raft’s decision making is not coming from his head, that’s for sure. Sidney is also fighting an attraction to Raft as well even though she’s married to Alan Edwards albeit they are estranged and do divorce during the film. There’s a whole lot of maneuvering done and at times it’s more hormone driven than politically driven. These are supposed to be professional people you know.

Roman Bohnen plays Sidney’s former political science professor and mentor in her younger days. He still appeals to the better angels of her nature. Sidney has two political operatives in Jerome Cowan and Sara Haden who do her bidding. Watch Haden’s performance, a very understated one with definite lesbian undertones. Sid Silvers is Raft’s factotum and Stanley Ridges his rival within his own organization who Sidney successfully subverts for a while. The emphasis of this film should have been on Sidney rather than Raft. Her’s is the real story here and Mr. Ace would have been a better film had it been entitled Mrs. Chase. Sidney’s name in the film is Margaret Chase and in 1948 one Margaret Chase Smith won election to the United States Senate to become the first woman elected in her own right to that body without having been appointed by the state governor to fill a vacancy. Mr. Ace does have its moments and one might want to view it just to see how things have so changed for women in politics.”  Internet Movie Database 

MURDER IS MY BUSINESS (a/k/a OCCUPATION MURDER) (1946)

C. 18 June 1946  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP385
Color  63 Mins.  GC 

Director:                  Sam Newfield
Writer:                     Fred Myton
Producer:                 Sigmund Neufeld
Cinematog.:             John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Art Director:            Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:               Leo Erdody
Editor:                      Holbrook Todd
Set Decor.:               Harry Reif
Story:                       “Murder is My Business,” by Brett Halliday
Cast:                         Hugh Beaumont, Cheryl Walker, Lyle Talbot, Carol Andrews, George Meeker,
Pierre Watkin, Carol Andrews, Virginia Christine, Ralph Dunn, Helene Heigh,
Richard Keene, Donald Kerr

“As always in such cases, there is a murder. The local  authority suspects that Shayne is too close to the affair not to be involved, but there is no evidence sufficient to warrant an arrest.  The fact that the murderer may be an ex-con friend of Shayne might be considered a damning implication, but since the alleged murderer was immediately killed by the victim’s husband  the plot continues to chug forward.  Another killing proves that someone else is taking a hand in the game. An interested spectator, sitting behind the scenes, is certain that not one but several people are at work. Eventually there are so many suspects that it becomes hard to keep them straight and impossible to hit upon the most and least likely villains.  Under these conditions of low visibility Hugh Beaumont and his  sec’y, Cheryl Walker, perform creditably.  When the murderer is finally revealed by our oft-flattened dick he deserves a golden credit for perseverance in face of stern plot odds.” (New York Post, May 8, 1946)

“In this “Michael Shayne” mystery, a calm, cool detective, pursues the bad-guys and solves a murder.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

NIGHT CALLER FROM OUTER SPACE (a/k/a BLOOD BEAST FROM OUTER SPACE) (1966)

C.19 June 1966  Harris Associates, Inc.  LP 32985
B&W  84 Mins.   GC
   
Directors:                    John Gilling
Writers:                       Jim O’Connolly (screenplay), Frank Crisp (novel)
Producers:                   Ronald Liles (producer), John J. Phillips (executive Producer)
Music:                         Johnny Gregory
Cinematog.:                 Stephen Dade
Editor:                         Philip Barnikel
Art Direction:              Harry White
Cast:                            John Saxon, Patricia Haines, Maurice Denham, Alfred Burke, Warren
Mitchell, Stanley Meadows, Aubrey Morris, Ballard Berkeley, Marianne
Stone, Geoffrey Lumsden, Barbara Stevens, Tony Wager, David Gregory,
Douglas Livingstone, Tom Gill, Vincent Harding, Romo Gorrara, Robert
Crewdson, John Carson, Jack Watson, Carmen Orrico, John Sherlock

“Scientists Jack Costain, Ann Barlow, and Professor Morley visit the landing site of a UFO whose course they have traced by radar but find only a 6-inch sphere, which they take to their research laboratory.  Ann, working late one night, encounters a scaly-clawed creature.  The major in charge of the Army unit guarding the sphere disbelieves her story, but Jack finds a giant footprint leading from the window of the storeroom.  Morley speculates that the sphere is a receiver for the transmission of matter from another planet but dies as he attempts to observe its activation.  The alien disappears with the sphere, and the major is killed shortly afterwards.  In the weeks that follow, several young women are reported missing.  Superintendent Hartley of Scotland Yard learns that all of them answered a classified advertisement soliciting models and contacted ‘Medra’ at a Soho bookshop.  Ann answers the advertisement and discovers that Medra is the alien being, a creature half-human and half-beast who has come from Jupiter’s third moon, Ganymede. Jack and Hartley break into the bookshop and find Ann strangled. Following the disappearance of another woman, they trace Medra to a farm.  He explains that he came to Earth to gather women for genetic experiments to benefit Ganymede’s population, a race of mutants descended from survivors of atomic warfare long ago.  His mission complete, he enters the sphere and returns to Ganymede.” (The American Film Institute Catalog)

“A ridiculous sci-fi thriller about a sex-starved alien who arrives in London, and women start disappearing from the streets.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“The inhabitants of Ganymede need to find mates from another world or they will become extinct. They soon discover a suitable breeding stock amongst the females of planet Earth.” Internet Movie Database

OUT OF THE BLUE  (1947)

C. 27 Oct. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1273
B&W  86 Mins.  GC 

Director:                         Leigh Jason
Writers:                           Walter Bullock, Vera Caspary, Edward Eliscu
Producers:                      Bryan Foy, Isadore G. Goldsmith
Cinematog.:                   Jackson J. Rose
Art Director:                  Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.;                     Irving Friedman
Music,Lyrics:                 Will Jason, Henry Nemo
Composer:                      Carmen Dragon
Editors:                           Norman Colbert, Alfred de Gaetano
Set Decor.:                     Armor E. Marlowe
Special Eff.:                   George J. Teague
Story:                              by Vera Caspary
Cast:                               George Brent, Virginia Mayo, Carole Landis, Turhan Bey, Ann Dvorak,
Hadda Brooks, George Carleton, Julia Dean, Flame the Dog, Paul Harvey,
Richard Lane, Jerry Marlowe, William Newell, Elizabeth Patterson, Lee
Phelps, Marcia Ralston, Ralph Sanford, Charles Smith

Comedy starring George Brent, Virginia Mayo, Turhan Bey, Carole Landis, and Ann Dvorak.  “The yarn presents Brent as a frau-dominated and generally willynilly guy living in a Greenwich Village apartment down the terrace from Bey, an artist with a big dog and a bigger appetite for models.  Feud between them is touched off when the dog buries a bone in Brent’s zinnias and Brent’s wife (Carole Landis…) forces him to try and oust the artist from the apartment.  During the weekend absence of his wife, Brent is picked up by an interior decorator (Ann Dvorak) whose interior is already well decorated with  brandies, and, in a fit of wickedness, he invites her to his apartment.  When she passes out he thinks she is dead, and stuffs her onto Bey’s terrace.  Obviously she comes to, and Bey, using Brent’s guilt as a stratagem to call off the landlords, forces Brent to go through with a mock burial.  Criss-cross farce from one apartment to the other follows.  Brent, finally caught by his wife, worms the turn in time-honored fashion.  Brent… easily holds up his end, but it is Miss Dvorak who wows as the screwball interior decorator…”  (Variety, August 27,  1947)

“Screwball comedy about the troubles that arise when a naive man discovers an unconscious woman in his apartment.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Set in an apartment building whose occupants include Arthur Earthleigh (George Brent), a meek and mild type married to the beautiful-but-domineering Mae (Carole Landis); a Bohemian artist, David Galleo (Turhan Bey) and his always-there model, Deborah Tyler (Virginia Mayo); and Olive Jensen (Ann Dvorak), a Greenwich Village type who is always slightly-but-continuously inebriated, and whose motto is “love and let love.” She calls on George while his wife is out, and when she passes out during his attempts to get her out before his wife returns, he thinks she is dead and deposits her on Galleo’s terrace. Galleo takes advantage of the situation by using it in a blackmail scheme against Arthur, which is shakey, at best, as Olive refuses to stay dead.” Internet Movie Database

[NOTE: There have been a number of theatrical and television movies with this title, but this is the only one which is based on the story by Vera Caspary.]

PASSPORT TO HEAVEN (a/k/a I WAS A CRIMINAL, a/k/a CAPTAIN OF KOEPENICK)  (1945)

B&W; 71 mins.;NC 

Director:                     Richard Oswald [born Richard Ornstein in Europe; directed and produced 
                                    many German films, beginning in 1914; had own production company; fled 
                                    Nazis and settled in U.S.; father of Gerd Oswald, director of U.S. B-movies 
                                    and TV shows]
2nd Unit Dir.:             Gerd Oswald
Writers:                       Ivan Goff, Albrecht Joseph, Carl Zuckmayer, based on the novel Der 
                                     Hamptmann van Kopenick, by Albrecht Joseph and Carl Zuckmayer
Producer:                    John Hall
Cinematog.:                John Alton
Prod.Co.:                     Producers Releasing Corporation
Distrib.:                        Film Classics Inc.
Cast:                             Albert Basserman, Mary Brian, Eric Blore, Herman Bing, George Chandler, 
                                      Luis Alberni, Wallis Clark, Elsa Basserman, Claud Allister, Bernard Gorcey,
                                      Hobart Cavanaugh, Frnak Orth, Sig Arno, Russell Hicks, Sheldon Bennett, 
                                      Richard Alexander, Vera Lewis, Walter O. Stahl, Brian O’Hara, Geraldine 
                                      Gray, Greta Doe, George Sherwood, George Eldredge, Lionel Belmore, 
                                      Robert Windon, Jack Chefe, Crane Whitley, Douglas Rutherford, Ted 
                                      Jacques, Max Willenz, Dan Stowell, Frank McGlynn Sr.

“The story of a cobbler who, after release from prison, cannot find work, nor can he obtain a passport, due to his criminal record.  He ultimately poses as an Army Captain and through several clever manipulations, he take over Command of a principal city under martial law.  The local city officials finally become aware of the hoax and are forced to give him a passport so that he will move and find freedom elsewhere.  Based on a famous story and play, ‘The Captain From Keopenick’ by Carl Zuckmayer and Allbright[sic] Joseph.” (publicity release)

IMDb Reviews:    “Completed as ‘Passport to Heaven’ in 1941, but unable to find a distributor due to the outbreak of World War II, which made its German settings and characterizations unpalatable to the American public; eventually picked up by Film Classics in 1945, but received few bookings, probably for the same reason; the only review it ever received was in Exhibitor Magazine in July 1946, who also commented on this same problem; eventually picked up for television release by NTA in the 1950’s, but only infrequently shown.”

            “Outstanding, 12 September 2004 [8 out of a possible 10 stars]  I don’t understand why this movie is listed as “I Was a Criminal.” It was released in the U.S., and shown on television years ago, as Passport to Heaven. A really outstanding, touching movie that featured a distinguished performance by Basserman. This movie appeared toward the end of the Second World War, and on one level was very crude anti-German propaganda. But its subtext, the yearning for freedom, is universal.One real tragedy is that this movie simply vanished from the face of the earth. It is not available in any format, DVD or video. A real shame. My thanks to the other commenter for sharing his recollections of the film.” 

PHANTOM OF 42ND STREET, THE  (1945)

C. 2 May 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13570
B&W  60 Mins.  PD 
     
Directors:                 Albert Herman, Martin Mooney
Writer:                      Milton M. Raison
Producers:               Al Herman, Martin Mooney
Cinematog.:             James Brown
Art Director:            Paul Palmentola
Composer:               Karl Hajos
Editor:                      Hugh Wynn
Set Decor.:               Harry Reif
Story:                       by Jack Harvey and Milton Raison
Cast:                         Dave “Tex” O’Brien, Kay Aldridge, Alan Mowbray, Frank Jenks, Johnny
Crawford, Cyril Delevanti, Edythe Elliott, Vera Marshe, Jack Mulhall, Paul
Power, Stanley Price

“Likeable whodunit woven around the theater and members of ‘the royal family of that era’….It zips along at a merry pace that arrests attention from outset and sustains it throughout…. Kay Aldridge is making her Broadway debut in a new play.  Preem is snafued by murder of her wealthy uncle backstage.  Alan Mowbray,  the actress’s father, is suspected.  Although starring in a current hit, he’s known to be short of coin.  Being next of kin he’ll naturally inherit his brother’s estate.  Dave O’Brien, drama critic, muffs the murder yarn for his sheet but later teams with… head of the homicide squad, to crack the case.  This and two other  murders are pinned on Mowbray’s dresser.”  (Variety,  June 6, 1945)

“A policeman teams up with a drama critic to solve a mystery in this drama.  They look into a case involving a wealthy, famous uncle who is killed backstage.  His death destroys the Broadway debut of the uncle’s niece whose father, also a very popular actor, becomes the prime suspect as the recently bankrupt fellow was in line to inherit the uncle’s fortune.  It is a complex case, but somehow the critic and the cop are able to sort through it all and reveal the killer’s identity.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“An actor is killed during the performance of a play and critic Tony Woolrich (Dave O’Brien) undertakes to solve the crime. Claudia Moore (Kay Aldridge, in her last movie role), the girl he loves, is suspected, but when two more deaths occur, she is also threatened by the Phantom Killer. During a production of “Julius Caesar” the killer makes a final attempt.” Internet Movie Database

PHILO VANCE RETURNS  (1947)

C. 14 June 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1052
B&W  64 Mins.  GC 
  
Director:                  William Beaudine
Writer:                     Robert Kent
Producer:                Howard Welsch
Cinematog.:            Jackson J. Rose
Art Director:           Perry Smith
Music Dir.:              Irving Friedman
Composer:               Albert Glasser
Editor:                     Gene Fowler, Jr.
Set Decor.:               Armor E. Marlowe
Story:                       character created by S.S. VanDine
Cast:                        William Wright, Terry Austin, Leon Belasco, Clara Blandick, Iris Adrian,
Frank Wilcox, Ramsay Ames, Time Murdock, Damian O’Flynn, Mary Scott,
Ann Staunton

Good mystery starring William Wright as private detective Philo Vance.  He “… has the assignment of solving the murder of a playboy and prevent [sic] the extermination of his numerous ex-wives and former fiances.  The wildoater previous to his enforced demise had made a will leaving a huge trust fund to be shared with those previously involved in his lovelife.  With  that kind of will, it’s advantageous to have the ex’s liquidated, but Vance, as usual, selects the proper culprit after the regulation number of corpses are strewn about.”  (Variety, April 30, 1947)

“In this murder mystery, intrepid detective Vance looks into the murder of a notorious playboy.  Vance must hurry as the killer is systematically killing all of the womanizer’s ex-wives, and former girl friends, each of whom has a stake in the deceased’s vast fortune.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Playboy Larry Blendon introduces his grandmother Stella Blendon to his fiancée, radio singer Virginia Berneaux. Despite Larry’s record of broken romances and divorces, Virginia decides she will marry him. Virginia is slain that night and Blandon telephones his friend Philo Vance to help find the killer. Even as they talk, the killer strikes again and Philo hears Larry fall dead. Philo begins his investigation with Alexis Karnoff, Virginia’s manager, and the two go to Larry’s home, where Stella tells them that the motive for the killing might be Larry’s will that names the six women in his life as heirs and if any die before the will is probated, the others will divide the shares. They also learn that Katherine Corbett, the first of Larry’s wives, has been murdered. Suspicion now falls on Lorena Sims, a former wife who has been a patient at a sanitarium suffering from a nervous ailment. All of the deaths have been by poison and Lorena had access to it at the sanitarium. Philo uncovers another piece of information that leads him to break into the Blandon home just as Stella is about to give Lorena a glass of warm milk” Internet Movie Database

PHILO VANCE’S GAMBLE  (1947)

C. 12 March 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1205
B&W  62 Mins.  GC
       
Director:                    Basil Wrangell
Writers:                      Eugene Conrad, Arthur St. Claire
Producer:                  Howard Welsch
Cinematog.:              Jackson J. Rose
Art Director:             Perry Smith
Music Dir.:                Irving Friedman
Editor:                       Donn W. Hayes
Set Decor.:                William Kiernan, Armor E. Marlowe
Story:                        character created by S.S. VanDine; story by Lawrence Edmund Taylor
Cast:                          Alan Curtis, Sheila Ryan, Terry Austin, Frank Jenks, Tala Birell, Gavin
Gordon, Frank Jenks, James Burke, Cliff Clark, Joseph Crehan, Charles
Mitchell, Francis Pierlot, Dan Seymour, Grady Sutton

Fair mystery with “fair pacing, occasional touches of humor, and a vast amount of gunplay” starring Alan Curtis as private detective Philo Vance. He is “drawn into a case in which a syndicate illegally acquires a huge emerald, and is about to peddle it when the chief thief is slain.  Other murders follow in fairly rapid succession, and Vance finally lands the culprit.”   (Variety, April 30, 1947)

“In this entry in the detective series, Vance looks into several deaths that seem to center around the theft of a rare emerald.  First killed is the leader of the jewel thieves.  Many more people die, before the mystery is solved.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“I thought Philo Vance’s Gamble was a very solid effort, especially for a movie that is a long way down the list of Philo Vance films done. It was a solid mystery, with a little comic relief, good acting and a better than average cast. …I have seen almost all of the Philo Vance films, and besides two or three of the early ones (Kennel Murder Case is a classic), this is one of the better films in the long running series.” Internet Movie Database 

PHILO VANCE’S SECRET MISSION  (1947)

C. 5 Aug. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1180
B&W  58 Mins.  GC 
    
Director:                    Reginald Le Borg
Writer:                       Lawrence Edmund Taylor
Producer:                  Howard Welsch
Cinematog.:              Jackson J. Rose
Art Director:             Perry Smith
Film Editor:              Donn W. Hayes
Set Decor.:                Armor E. Marlowe, Clarence I. Steensen
Special Eff.:              George J. Teague
Story:                         character created by S.S. VanDine
Cast:                          Alan Curtis, Sheila Ryan, Tala Birell, Frank Jenks, James Bell, Kenneth
Farrell, Frank Fenton, David Leonard, Paul Maxey

Good mystery starring Alan Curtis as private detective Philo Vance.  “Film gets off to a quick start when detective magazine head Paul Maxey is murdered at his palatial home.  Maxey had called Curtis in to write a novel concerning an unsolved murder for which, Maxey said, he could supply the ending. Curtis follows through, out of curiosity, and learns that Tala Birell’s husband  had been murdered seven years previously and that Maxey  thought he had the answer.  Curtis decides that he must first solve her husband’s murder before he can solve Maxey’s…. plenty of action…”  (Variety, November 26,  1947)

“S.S. Van Dyne’s gentleman detective is reduced to an ordinary “hard boiled” gumshoe in this inexpensive mystery.  Philo Vance (Alan Curtis) is hired by a magazine publisher, ostensibly as a technical advisor for a crime periodical.  This is a cover for his “secret mission”: to learn the truth behind the death of the publisher’s former partner seven years earlier.  When the publisher himself is killed, Vance learns that practically everyone who came in contact with the dead man had a motive.  Vance gets to the bottom of things with the dubious help of his pretty secretary (Sheila Ryan).  Philo Vance’s Secret Mission was the fourteenth and final Hollywood film based on Van Dyne’s creation.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Publisher Martin Jamison (Paul Maxey) sends for Philo Vance (Alan Curtis) as he wants to hire him as a technical advisor on the crime stories he publishes. Paul Morgan (Frank Fenton), Morgan’s partner, regards the plan as foolish. Jamison tells his secretary Mona Bannister (Sheila Ryan) to bring Vance to his home that night and he will reveal the solution to the seven-year mystery of the killing of Sam Philips, former partner in the firm. Philips ex-wife (Tala Birell), now a receptionist for the company, is alarmed when she overhears. As Vance and Mona drive up, two shots are heard and Jamison’s body is later found in the trunk of Vance’s car.” Internet Movie Database

PLOTTERS, THE (a/k/a THE PRIMITIVES)  (1966)

C. 1962  Border Film Productions
B&W  80 Mins.  NC   

Director:            Alfred Travers
Writers:              Moris Farhi, Alfred Travers
Producer:           Olive Negus-Fancey
Music:                Edmundo Ros, Ronald Hanmer
Cinematog.:       Michael Reed
Editor:                Alfred Cox
Art Direction:     William Kellner
Cast:                    Jan Holden, Bill Edwards, Rio Fanning, George Mikell, Terence Fallon, Derek 
                             Ware, Peter Hughes, Nigel Green, John Junkin, John Barrard, Tom Bowman,
                             Barry Jackson, George Roderick, Ednumdo Ros

“A diabolically clever gang of thieves continues to escape detection… and puzzle police forces throughout the world!  Fronted by a glamorous woman who poses as a professional dancer, THE PLOTTERS… daring, deceptive… the most successful gang of thieves to ever walk away from robbery on a grand scale with unbelievable hauls of riches… continues to taunt world-famed agencies of detection with its ability to escape detection!  Finally… due to the dogmatic efforts of a Scotland Yard inspector and the determination of a young journalist… the ring is broken… and the gang is put to a trial beyond its wildest reckoning!  Can a gang of criminals cope with the one humane test… the decision that will force them to turn on one of their own, in order to save a plane filled with human cargo from being blown to bits before their eyes?  The tumultuous decision builds to a hair-splitting climax!” (publicity release)

A  troupe of musicians, headlined by a beautiful female dancer, doubles in its off-hours as a gang of international jewel thieves.  Scotland Yard tumbles to their modus operandi, which includes a wry sense of humor for each theft, just as they decide to pull their “last job” in London– a L300,000 diamond heist. The pace is fast and it is surprisingly well-acted.  Some memorable dialog:

Male member of troupe, after having his romantic proposal turned down by the female dancer:  “What have you got against men?” Dancer:  “This is a dog-eat-dog world, and I’ve cut out men from my diet!”

“In this crime drama, a clever band of thieves are led by a lovely dancer.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“A group of night club musicians,featuring an exotic dancer,commit jewel robberies,wherever they perform.  THE PRIMITIVES is one of the many routine minor second feature crime movies churned out in the UK in the late 50’s and early 60’s.This one is a little unusual,firstly in the occupations of the crooks,and secondly in showing a woman as the gang boss(not very common at the period,or now come to that).She is played by talented Jan Holden,an actress with an uncommon and striking sort of beauty,in a rare leading role(Miss Holden is clearly not the masked exotic dancer we see performing in the Primitives stage act).Lighter in tone,and with less overt violence than was common in these sort of movies,THE PRIMITIVES lacks any real thrills or dramatic tension.Jan Holden excepted,the cast mostly act without much enthusiasm. Some(like me)quite enjoy watching this kind of low budget movie,as they preserve an early sixties Britain we remember with affection.One odd point is that Jan Holden,leader of the Primitives,uncannily resembles Tracy Cattell,lead singer of British 80’s pop band-the Primitives! “ Internet Movie Database

PRETENDER, THE (1947)

C. 28 July 1947  Republic Pictures Corp.  LP1166
Color  68 Mins.  GC 
   
Director:                   W. Lee Wilder
Writers:                     Don Martin, Doris Miller
Producer:                  W. Lee Wilder
Cinematog.:              John Alton
Art Director:             Paul F. Sylos
Music Dir.:                Paul Dessau
Editors:                      Asa Boyd Clark, John Link
Costumes:                  I.R. Berne
Makeup:                    Don L. Cash
Cast:                          Albert Dekker, Catherine Craig, Charles Drake, Alan Carney, Charles
Middleton, Linda Stirling, Ernie S. Adams, John Bagni, Cay Forester, Eula
Guy, Selmar Jackson, Tom Kennedy, Michael Mark, Peter Michael, Stanley
Ross, Forrest Taylor, Ben Welden, Peggy Wynne

“A Routine Melodrama…Republic, apparently quite aware that money, if not the root of all evil, certainly can cause quite a mass, has concocted a drab little melodrama around that maxim in ‘The Pretender,’ the crime item which came to the Rialto yesterday.  It all has to do with Albert Dekker, an investment broker and a sly operator who has been using the trust funds of a youthful heiress.  When he decides to marry the lady whose cash he has been filching, he arranges for the murder of the lad with whom she’s in love.  However, Catherine Craig, as the lady in question, marries Dekker on the rebound before he has a chance to change plans and he spends the rest of the time worrying about that mysterious assassin and what is about to happen to him….”  (The New York Times, August 12, 1947)

“Albert Dekker plays a crooked investment agent who embezzles a large sum from an estate, hoping to cover his crime by marrying the estate’s heiress (Catherine Craig).  The girl is already engaged, so Dekker arranges to have the fiancé killed.  The hit man’s only means of identifying the victim-to-be is his picture in the society columns.  But the girl changes her mind and agrees to marry Dekker–meaning that it is his picture that will appear in the columns, thereby condemning him to death.  Desperately trying to contact the hit man, Dekker discovers that the man is dead…but the assassin’s successor is still at large.  A cheap but tidy “hoist on his own petard” melodrama, The Pretender was produced and directed by W. Lee Wilder, brother of the more famous (and frankly more talented) Billy Wilder.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“A man whose business is failing decides to marry his legal ward, in order to get his hands on her money. The only problem is that she is in love with a young doctor. The businessman hires a killer to eliminate his rival, but it isn’t long before things begin to go wrong.” Internet Movie Database

[NOTE: There have been 11 productions with the same title; however, this is the only one with the above writers, who most likely created the screenplay on a “for hire” basis.]

QUEEN OF BURLESQUE  (1946)

C. 4 July 1946  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP418
B&W  70 Mins.  GC   
  
Director:                    Sam Newfield
Writer:                       David Lang
Producers:                Arthur Alexander, Alfred Stern
Cinematog.:              Vincent J. Farrar
Art Director:             Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:                Karl Hajos, Gene Lucas
Music,Lyrics:            Al Stewart
Editor:                       Jack W. Ogilvie
Choreography:          Larry Ceballos
Cast:                          Evelyn Ankers, Carleton Young, Marian Martin, Craig Reynolds, Rose La
Rose, Alice Fleming, Marion Martin, Gordon B. Clark, Jacqueline Dalya,
Charles King, Nolan Leary, Murray Leonard, Emory Parnell

“Compared to the slipshod who-done-its which the New York Theater presents along with the inevitable weekly western, ‘Queen of Burlesque’ seems to be high class entertainment…it’s a busy little B which, under the direction of Sam Newfield, runs fast and smoothly through a plot that provides three murders and three times as many suspects from among a burlesque show’s personnel.   It’s a compact mystery and there is no complaint against the acting, which is surprisingly good for a budget film.  The queen of the show, who is not pleased when the producer tells her that she is to be dethroned, is the inspector’s first choice as the killer, for the simple reason that the girl who was to replace her is found dead in her dressing room.  As her alibi is airtight for two more murders, the inspector has to look elsewhere for his killer.  Many others of the troupe arouse his suspicions, but the thing that gets him down is that the murders are committed in three different ways.  An interested reporter figures it all out for the cop through an attempted murder that he proves to be a phony. Evelyn Ankers has the leading role….A former burlesque figure, Rose La Rose, is featured.”  (New York Herald Tribune, August 21, 1946)

“In this thriller, a burlesque dancer engaged to a journalist finds herself in trouble when she is suspected of murder.  With her lover’s help, she is able to find the real killer.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Reporter Steve Hurley is happy when he hears that Crystal McCoy, star of the burlesque show, is to be replaced by her predecessor, Dolly Devoe. Steve hopes Crystal will marry him and give up the stage. But Crystal is unhappy about it, as is show manager Joe Nolan, for he also likes her. It is obvious that he is being forced to put Dolly back in the show. And there is also Blossom Terraine who wants the star role and is using her suitor Chick Malloy, the comedian of the show to back her. Dolly arrives in a snit and immediately starts a quarrel with Crystal. And Dolly’s day gets worse when Lola Cassell shows up and accuses Dolly of having driven to suicide the man they both loved. Dolly’s bad day ends when Annie, the wardrobe woman who idolizes Crystal, finds her strangled body in a dressing room trunk. The first person Inspector Crowley suspects is Chick, for he had been overheard in an incriminating conversation with Blossom. Then he turns to Crystal, as the result of a threat she had made, plus he learns that a story Steve is writing revolves around the finding of a strangled body in a trunk. To complete the Inspector’s own bad day, albeit somewhat better than Dolly’s, he finds out that Lola had visited Dolly in her dressing room, and that Chick is blackmailing Nolan into putting Blossom in the starring role and has evidence that Nolan had also been in Dolly’s dressing room in between the other traffic. THEN, Annie, fearing that Crystal will be arrested, confesses to the murder. The police do not believe her, and give orders that nobody is to leave the theatre until the murderer is found which, based on the number of suspects, gives no indication of happening anytime soon. The list is narrowed when Lola is found dead in a phone booth, with a knife thrust in her back. And while he is questioning the rest of the group in Nolan’s office, the lights go out, and Blossom exits stage left by being murdered. Chick accuses Nolan, who admits he was also in Dolly’s dressing room – who wasn’t – only because she was blackmailing him but she was alive when he left. A shot rings out in Crystal’s dressing room, where they find Annie in a faint, but unharmed by the bullet. An inspection of the room shows that Annie fired the bullet at herself, and Steve’s adroit questioning tricks Annie into confessing that she was the killer, the crimes being committed as the result of a homicidal mania induced by Annie’s intense love for Crystal, who she mistakenly believes to be her daughter.” Internet Movie Database

[NOTE: Evelyn Ankers died in 1985; she was married to Richard Denning, who died 1998.]

RAILROADED!  (a/k/a UNCERTAIN GUILT)  (1947)

C. 2 Sept. 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1250
B&W  72 Mins.  GC  

Director:                    Anthony Mann
Writer:                        John C. Higgins
Producer:                   Charles “Chuck” Reisner
Cinematog.:               Guy Roe
Art Director:              Perry Smith
Music Dir.:                 Irving Friedman
Composer:                  Alvin Levin
Editor:                        Louis H. Sackin
Set Decor.:                  Robert P. Fox, Armor E. Marlowe
Costumes:                   Frances Ehren
Cast:                            John Ireland, Sheila Ryan, Hugh Beaumont, Jane Randolph, Keefe
Brasselle, Ed Kelly, Charles D. Brown, Peggy Converse, Clancy Cooper, Roy
Gordon, Hermine Sterler

“This is an old-type blood-and-thunder gangster meller that’s better than its no-name cast would indicate.  A ruthless mobster’s trigger-happy mood is reflected by many killings and robberies, with payoff gun battle in nightclub reminiscent of gangster shockers before the strict code era….Story starts out like a familiar cops-and-robbery, then disintegrates into a plot wherein police detectives misinterpret circumstantial evidence, and it finally winds up with yarn centering on a cold-blooded gangster who uses his gun whenever anybody gets in his way.  Probably the most suspenseful moment is built around said mobster’s deliberate gun- blasting of his sweetheart after he overhears her tipping off the coppers. Even skillful cutting does not make this a nice episode particularly since he had pushed her around all through the picture.  The cold- blooded slaying of his boss soon afterwards steeps this production in plenty of gore.  Anthony Mann has directed, for the most part, with real acumen in developing maximum of suspense. Earlier passages where a truckdriver is unjustly accused by the gendarmes and put through a vivid third degree seems a bit extraneous…. Outstanding in the cast is Hugh Beaumont, as the conscientious detective.  He tends to underplay which makes his work all the more effective.  John Ireland is sufficiently menacing as the gangster killer, Jane Randolph does excellent work as the gunmoll while Sheila Ryan, comely dark-haired gal, shows promise as the heroine.”  (Variety, October 8, 1947)

“Railroaded is another low-budget noir extravaganza directed by Anthony Mann and, like the earlier Desperate, it is a crisp, well-made thriller.  The real tone of the noir sensibility is revealed by John Ireland’s grotesque portrayal of Duke Martin.  There is an erotic quality to his ritualizing anointment of the bullets and the self-satisfying response to the massaging of his gun barrel.  The almost ludicrous Freudian association between sex and violence is carried off so convincingly that Duke’s obsession is never questioned or laughed at.  In Railroaded, Mann was more concerned with the dealings of the noir antagonist, Duke, than in the vindication of the wrongly accused fall guy.  The retribution for the crimes committed by Duke are inconsequential.  What matters in Railroaded is that the aberrant nature of Duke’s character was not compromised.  The lack of redemption attests to the noir code, and the screenplay by John C. Higgins… is strongly rooted in the hard- boiled tradition of pulp magazines of the period.” (Film Noir, Silver and Ward, The Overlook Press, 1979)

“Sexy beautician Clara Calhoun, who has a bookie operation in her back room, connives with her boyfriend, mob collector Duke Martin, to stage a robbery of the day’s take. But the caper turns violent; a cop and Duke’s partner are shot; and Duke arranges for innocent Steve Ryan, owner of the car they stole, to be framed. At first homicide detective Mickey Ferguson thinks Steve is guilty, despite his attraction to Steve’s sister Rosie. And the suave but ruthless Duke won’t hesitate to keep it that way with more of his perfumed bullets..” Internet Movie Database

RED STALLION, THE  (1947)

C. 13 June 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1216
Color 82 Mins.  GC 
   
Director:                Lesley Selander
Writers:                 Robert Kent, Crane Wilbur
Producer:              Benjamin Stoloff
Cinematog.:          Virgil Miller
Art Director:         Perry Smith
Music Dir.:            Irving Friedman
Composer:             Frederick Hollander
Editor:                   Fred Allen
Cast:                      Robert Paige, Guy Kibbee, Pierre Watkin, Noreen Nash, Ted Donaldson, Jane
Darwell, Daisy the Dog, Jane Darwell, Willie Best, Robert Bice, Bill Cartledge,
Ray Collins

“Bryan Foy’s medicine men have tossed together a canny mixture in ‘The Red Stallion,’ Cinecolored outdoor spectacular with broad appeal to all levels. It’s a parlay of a horse, a boy and a dog, with a bear as the heavy. And the animal kingdom makes for fancy entertainment.  The exhib should gallop home on ‘Stallion’ with more than spurs a-jingling. There aren’t any potent marquee names in this pic but the exploitation angle is obvious. It’s a buildup, mainly of a story about a mighty bear vs. horse that spells nifty climaxing.  Credit the camera also with some pretty mountain country.  Racing scenes play up the ponies nicely to clinch the appeal to horse lovers.  Dimming the film’s lustre are some overly saccharine sequences revolving about the boy (Ted Donaldson) and his grandmother’s (Jane Darwell) efforts to save the ranch from the traditional foreclosure.  These scenes, especially an overlong prayer closeup, could stand judicious scissoring. First half of pic needs general pepping. Once the camera moves into high to depict the bear-horse fracas and the race that follows, pace pickup is sharp and effective. For the story, simply, is how a boy finds a foal, falls in love with it, and trains it to be a great racer.  And the prelims are loaded for the second-half explosion.  In winning the race and thereby inducing a stable-tycoon to buy a share in the nag, it’s obvious that the old homestead is saved.  Hardly secondary is the horse’s hatred for bears and the vendetta that’s liquidated in the epic battle.  Noteworthy, also, is a Phi Beta Kappa dog, Daisy,  which does some scene larceny on its own.  Donaldson as the boy is adequate.  Camera work is good.  The animals scenes must have taken considerable doing.  Direction wavers at first but finds itself in the closeout reels.” (Variety, July 16, 1947)
          
“In this children’s movie, a young boy raises a foal into a championship racehorse that saves his grandmother’s ranch from foreclosure.  The brave stallion also saves the boy from the cruel claws of a great bear.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Yong Joel Curtis finds an orphaned colt in the woods, whom he names “Red” and raises and trains him. When he learns that his grandmother is going to have to sell her ranch to pay off the debts, he trains Red, with the help of Andy McBride, as a race horse with the intention of selling his beloved animal friend in order to pay off his grandmother’s debts. “ Internet Movie Database

RED STALLION IN THE ROCKIES  (1949)

C. 2 March 1949  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP2184
Color/B&W  85 Mins.  GC  
     
Director:                    Ralph Murphy
Writer:                       Tom Reed
Producer:                   Aubrey Schenk
Cinematog.:              John Alton
Art Director:             Walter Koessler
Music Dir.:                Irving Friedman
Music,Lyrics:            Harold Lewis, Ralph Murphy
Composer:                 Lucien Caillet
Editor:                        Norman Colbert
Set Decor.:                 Armor E. Marlowe
Makeup:                     David Grayson, Em Westmore
Special Eff.:               Roy W. Seawright
Story:                          Francis Rosenwald
Cast:                           Arthur Franz, Wallace Ford, Ray Collins, Jean Heather, Leatrice Joy,
Jimmy Lynn Davis, Dynamite the Horse

Good outdoors “save the horse” saga.  “Simple story is  unfolded against the magnificent backdrop of the  Colorado Rockies…. Footage gets in a load of movement  concerning wild horse hunts, equine fights, and even a  circus sequence…. The story of an ex-circus horse who  is raiding Colorado ranches of mares to build up his own  harem…”  The horse is “recognized by two stranded big  top workers as a trick steed.  Pair catch him, protect  him from the ranchers, and when the horse saves a  rancher’s wife from a wild elk, he’s permitted to return  to the sawdust trail.  There’s a slight romance between  Jean Heather, ranch girl, and Arthur Franz, circus man,  and it comes off pleasantly…. lensing is excellent in  pointing up exciting moments…” (Variety, March 16,  1949)

“In this outdoor adventure, two ex-circus performers endeavor to catch and protect an apparently wild stallion from irate ranchers tired of the clever horse stealing their prize mares for his own harem.  The performers try to protect the beast because they realize, that once he had been a trick circus horse. When the stud saves a rancher’s wife from the deadly antlers of a fearsome wild elk, he is spared.  Meanwhile, one of the circus performers falls in love with a rancher’s daughter.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

ROGUE’S GALLERY  (1944)

C. 1 Jan. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13558
B&W  60 Mins.  PD 
  
 Director:               Albert Herman
Writer:                   John T. Neville
Producers:             Albert Herman, Donald C. McKean
Cinematog.:           Ira Morgan
Art Director:          Paul Palmentola
Music Dir.:             Lee Zahler
Editor:                    Fred Bain
Set Decor.:              Harry Reif
Cast:                        Frank Jenks, H.B.Warner, Robin Raymond, Davison Clark, Earle Dewey,
Patrick Gleason, Robert E. Homans, Edward Keane, Milt Kibbee, George
Kirby, Frank McGlynn, Sr., Jack Raymond, Gene Roth [Stutenroth], John
Valentine, Ray Walker

“Lightweight whodunit of cut-and-dried pattern…. Robin  Raymond plays a gal reporter and Frank Jenks is her news  photographer pal, both assigned to interview H. B. Warner, inventor of a trick device.  They stumble into a murder and a couple of near homicides before turning up Ray Walker, rival scribe, as the culprit who’s committed to steal plans of the invention.”  (Variety, February  21, 1945)

“In this murder mystery, a news photographer and a reporter go off to do a story on an inventor’s new device and find themselves involved in a murder.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Reporter Patsy Reynolds (Robin Raymond) and photographer Eddie Porter (Frank Jenks)are assigned to interview John Foster (Davison Clark), head of the Emmerson Foundadtion regarding a listening device the organization is working on. Foster evades them and they to the lab to see Professor Reynolds (H. B. Warner), the real inventor. Soon, they are involved in several shootings, blueprints that change hands several times, a corpse in their car that appears and disappears a few times, the loss of their jobs and several people who either think they are killers or candidates for being killed.” Internet Movie Database

SEARCH FOR DANGER  (1949)

C. 21 April 1949  Falcon Productions, Inc.  LP2264
B&W  64 Mins.  GC 

Director:                     Jack Bernhard
Writer:                        Don Martin
Producer:                   Jack Bernhard
Cinematog.:                Paul Ivano
Art Director:               Boris Leven
Composer:                  Karl Hajos
Editor:                         Asa Boyd Clark
Story:                           character created by Michael Arlen; story by Jerome Epstein
Cast:                            John Calvert, Albert Dekker, Myrna Dell, Douglas Fowley, Ben Welden,
Peter Brocco, Jack Daly, James Griffith, Mauritz Hugo, Michael Mark, Peter
Michael, Billy Nelson

Routine mystery with John Calvert as The Falcon, an insurance investigator.  He “… tracks down an absconded partner of pair of gamblers [Albert Dekker and Ben Welden] which leads to partner’s murder.  With stolen $100,000 involved, there’s a second murder, and it’s anybody’s guess then who’s the guilty party, with practically all principals under suspicion.”   (Variety,  April 20, 1949)

“In this entry in the “Falcon” series of detective dramas, the super suave sleuth must find the two gamblers who stole $100,000 and kidnaped a man.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Actor/magician John Calvert made three low-budget features as The Falcon in 1948-49 for the small “Film Classics” company. Tom Conway made a strong impression in many Falcon films in the early and mid-40s, and Conway had a smooth, urbane, sarcastic edge that for many made him the definitive Falcon. Calvert wisely does not choose to ape Conway’s approach, instead taking a more laid-back interpretation of the role. His approach works well. The film was directed (as was the previous film, APPOINTMENT WITH MURDER)by Jack Bernhard, well-regarded for the film noir classics DECOY and VIOLENCE, both made for Monogram in 1947. This film is not as over-the-top as those two, but it is a solid little murder mystery with a fine supporting cast (Albert Dekker and Ben Welden as the owners of a gambling club, Douglas Fowley as a police inspector). The intrigue gets deeper and deeper as the film proceeds and I must say that the climax was a total surprise to me. It is fun to see all the other characters get angry and flustered while The Falcon maintains his cool and gradually breaks them down, seemingly effortlessly. There is also some nice location photography of the streets of 1949 L.A., which helps to create a nice L.A. flavor for a film that is otherwise largely shot on cheap, small sets. Anyone who loves a good murder mystery and appreciates series films such as Charlie Chan, Boston Blackie, etc., should enjoy this. It’s not as slick as the RKO Falcons, but the low budget creates a nice cheap ambience which in hindsight turns out to be a virtue for the film. All three Calvert Falcon films are worth watching if you can find them” Internet Movie Database 

SECRETS OF A SORORITY GIRL  (1946)

C. 15 Aug. 1946  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP501
B&W  50 Mins.  GC 
  
Director:                  Lew Landers 
Writer:                     George Wallace Sayre
Producers:              Max Alexander, Alfred Stern
Cinematog.:            Robert C. Cline
Art Director:           Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:              Karl Hajos
Editor:                     Roy Livingston
Cast:                        Frank Ferguson, Marie Harmon, Mauritz Hugo, Marilyn Johnson, William
Murphy,  Addison Richards, Rick Vallin, Emmett Vogan, Ray Walker,
Anthony Warde, Mary Ware, Pierre Watkin

“… this one is of the ‘Blind Parents,’ ‘Where Are Your Children’ variety.  While a district attorney, a candidate for governor, is crusading against the city’s gambling casinos, his excitement-craving daughter is frequenting the very places her father is trying to padlock.  Father doesn’t know what his Linda is up to until he has to arrest her.  At the trial, Linda’s innocence is proved and the young man who was her bad influence in order to ruin her father’s career is brought to justice. By making Linda a neurotic with a fixation that she is going to die young and by presenting the story in flashback, the director, Lew Landers, tried to camouflage the old juvenile delinquency juvenile plot.” (New York Daily News, September 25, 1946)

“In this crime drama, a sorority girl is photographed hanging around with known criminals in illicit gambling dens.  The resulting pictures are then used to blackmail her father, a district attorney.  Later, the crooks involved try to make the girl believe that she ran over and killed someone with her car.  Fortunately, her father helps her prove that the charges are false.  Together they help capture the real crooks and justice is served.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Linda Hamilton, president of Alpha Beta Sorority and Conover College campus queen, faints while at a sorority party in the company of ex-reporter Paul Reynolds, who is taking a post-graduate course. Linda learns from doctors that she has only one year to live but hesitates in telling her father, District Attorney Hamilton, who is devoting his energies to wiping out illegal gambling. Linda goes with Paul to the Blue Parrot Cabaret, a notorious gambling den. Bail bondsman Justin Farley telephones casino owner Nick Vegas that the police are about to make a raid and Vegas, knowing Linda is the district attorney’s daughter, takes pictures of her. Several nights later, Paul takes Linda to another gambling house and more pictures are taken showing her at the roulette table and drinking. Realizing that she has hurt her father by going to the places he is trying to exterminate, she still goes to a plave ran by Whitey King. Reynolds arrives and he and Whitey get into a fight which is interrupted by a raid. Paul rescues Linda, who has been knocked unconscious. A motorcycle cop chases Paul’s car and is killed when he runs into the car after Paul brakes sharply. Paul revives Linda and tells her she had been driving the car (quickly justifying the belief of audience members that no Rick Vallin character could stay heroic through a whole film.) Paul then goes to Linda with the pictures and reveals he is the secret leader of the gambling rackets, and tells her to ask her father to resign or he will give the newspapers the pictures. She refuses and Paul goes to civic committee meeting, where Mr. Hamilton is being proposed to run for governor, and shows him and other officials the pictures, plus Linda’s stolen diary in which she has written about the wreck with the motorcycle policeman. Hamilton arrest his daughter and she is put on trial for the killing. Probably not a big deal to one who has only a few more months to live..”  Internet Movie Database

SHADOW OF TERROR  (1945)

C. 5 Nov. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP415
B&W  60 Mins.  GC 
   
Director:                            Lew Landers
Writer:                               Arthur St. Claire
Producer:                          Jack Grant
Cinematog.:                      John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Art Director:                     Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:                        Karl Hajos
Editor:                               Roy Livingston
Set Decor.:                        Glenn Thompson
Story:                                 Sheldon Leonard
Cast:                                  Eddie Acuff, Sam Flint, Richard Fraser, Grace Gillern, Cy Kendall,
Emmett Lynn, Kenneth MacDonald

“…A well-paced mystery meller that should get favorable boxoffice reactions” about Richard Fraser as a top U. S. atomic scientist fighting off amnesia and crooks who want to kidnap him and sell secrets to the highest bidder, with lots of desert scenery, a romance with the girl who nurses him through the amnesia, and so on.  (Variety, November 21, 1945)

“A scientist possessing the formula for making a nuclear bomb finds himself chased by evil gangsters in this thriller that was made just after the A-bomb was dropped upon Hiroshima.  The crooks catch up with the scientist on a train, knock him unconscious, and toss him off the train.  Later he awakens and somehow makes his way to a ranch.  There the woman who owns it tends to his wounds and helps him while he recovers from amnesia.  They are still plagued by the crooks and she does all she can to help the ailing chemist who doesn’t recover until the very last scene.  He and the woman then flee across the desert with the villains in hot pursuit.  Eventually the two are saved by government authorities who capture the crooks and save the world from a nuclear holocaust.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“One redeeming factor about PRC was their ability to be topical and responsive to “late breaking news” and “this just in” situations, whether it applied or not. Easy to do when making films in seven days or less and the time from start-of-production to release of film was often less a month. An example is in this film when they were able to add just-released US government shots of the Atomic bomb test in New Mexico to this film after it was finished. Never mind that the word Atomic Bomb was never used in this film. This one finds Richard Fraser being thrown from a train, after his papers are stolen, on which he was bound for Washington to present the government his own secret bomb formula. He is found by rancher Grace Gillern and nursed back to help but is suffering from amnesia. Cy Kendall and his henchies trace him to the ranch and drop by since a vital part of his formula was missing from the papers they had stolen.”  Internet Movie Database

THE SHANGHAI GESTURE

1941; B&W, 106 mins.; **1/2 Corel All Movie Guide

Director:           Josef von Sternberg
Producer:         Arnold Pressburger
Ass. Prod.:        Albert de Courvill
Screenplay:      Josef von Sternberg, Karl Vollmoeller, Geza Herzeg, Jules Furthman; from the
play by John Colton
Dir. Photog.:   Paul Ivano
Music Score:   Richard Hageman
Costumes:       Oleg Cassini for Gene Tierney; Royer for Ona Munson
Film Editor:    Sam Winston
Distributor:      United Artists
Cast:                 Gene Tierney,Walter Huston, Victor Mature, Maria Ouspenskaya, Mike Mazurki,
Ona Munson, Phyllis Brooks, Albert Basserman, Eric Blore, Ivan Lebedeff, Clyde
Fillmore, Grayce Hampton, Rex Evans, Mikhail Rasumny, Michael Dalmatoff,
Marcel Dalio,  John Abbott, Enrique Acosta, Mimi Aguglia, Brooks Benedict, Jean
De Briac, Steven Geray, Sam Harris, Leyland Hodgson, Roland Lui, Allen
Marlow, Eric Mayne, Moy Ming, Edmund Mortimer, Manuel Paris, Albery Pollet,
Emil Rameau

Academy Award Nominations, 1942:  Boris Levin, Art Direction; Richard Hageman, Score

DRAMA:    One of the great classic “film noir” masterpieces.  “Mother Gin Sling is the owner of a Shanghai casino which, despite her bribes, the local authorities have decided to close under pressure from British financier Sir Guy Charteris.  Charteris has his own plans for the property and refuses to accept any of Gin Sling’s calls to discuss it.  She has him investigated and learns that as a young man he was engaged in questionable activities in China, married a native woman, then fled with money from her estate and their infant daughter.  At the same time, she discovers that this daughter, Poppy, now grown, has become a habitue of her establishment.  Through one of her associates, Dr. Omar, Mother Gin Sling encourages Poppy’s gambling until she has run up a considerable debt.  Poppy, although enraged at Gin Sling’s contemptuous treatment of her and suspicious of Omar’s fidelity, nonetheless thwarts her father’s attempt to send her out of the city and continues to patronize the casino.  In order to get his daughter out of this environment, Charteris feels compelled to accept an invitation to Gin Sling’s New Year’s dinner and to hear her implicit blackmail demands.  Ultimately, Gin Sling reveals to the incredulous Charteris that she is the wife whom he presumed killed and whose money he appropriated.  Shaken, Charteris explains that he thought she had died after betraying him; but Poppy is unable to accept under any circumstances that Gin Sling could be her mother and hysterically denounces the woman.  Infuriated by her own daughter’s vilification, Gin Sling loses control and shoots her.” Film Noir, Ed. Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward, The Overlook Press, 1988, p.255.

Background:    “The nightmarish, almost Baroque environment that von Sternberg creates in ‘The Shanghai Gesture’ contains much of what was to become a standard expression of the noir vision.  Numerous changes in the 1925 Broadway play were mandated by the Hays Office — which had rejected nearly three dozen earlier film treatments.  In Jules Furthman’s screen version, for example, Mother Goddamn becomes Mother Gin Sling and her brothel becomes a gambling house.  Despite all these changes, Sternberg evokes an underworld more tangible and more threatening than anything in such noir precursors as ‘Underworld’ and ‘Thunderbolt.’  The true nature of Gin Sling’s establishment is, in effect, revealed in her “purchase” of Dixie, a blond playgirl, from the police and culminates in the New Year’s auction of women suspended in cages outside the casino.  Despite such exotic embellishments or the title disclaimer that ‘Our story has nothing to do with the present,’ ‘Shanghai Gesture’ obviously anticipates and has everything to do with the postwar noir vision fatality and inexplicable malaise.

“Poppy is the key characterization of that fatality.  She is both the physical and psychological child of the youthful liaison between Gin Sling and Charteris; and, in the latter capacity, she embodies the emotional estrangement that both her parents suffered in assuming betrayal by the other.  Sternberg uses Poppy’s fascination with vice and her subsequent degeneration as an emblem of the more gradual process by which her parents have alienated themselves from normal relationships.  In contrast to the artificial Gin Sling, whose masklike makeup and exotic headdress outwardly suggest a lifeless doll, and Charteris, who takes satisfaction in frustrating his sycophants by lighting his own cigarette, Poppy initially reacts to Gin Sling’s gambling house with an open and natural disdain, ‘What a witches’ Sabbath…so incredibly evil.  I didn’t think such a place existed except in my own imagination–like a half-remembered dream.  Anything could happen here, at any moment.’  Poppy’s words are, of course, in the narrative convention of film noir, prophetic ones.  The effects of her surrender to the dark side of her ‘own imagination’ are apparent.  Her gambling, drinking, and infatuation with Omar are examples, as are her altered appearance, haggard and slow-moving, and her frequently slurred words.  Her drug addiction is not explicit but abundantly suggested by her own name, her mercurial behavior, and her increasing dependence on Omar.

“Sternberg visually underscores the concept of Poppy’s ‘evil, half-remembered dream’ with numerous diffused close-ups, many of them on the half-familiar faces of well-known character actors that portray Gin Sling’s minions:  Maria Ouspenskaya as the Amah, Gin Sling’s attendant; Eric Blore as the bookkeeper; Marcel Dalio as the croupier who controls the gamblers’ fates; and Mike Mazurki as the hulking coolie who banters with Charteris in Pidgin English.  From cuts of intent faces watching the spinning of the roulette wheel, Sternberg pulls back to overhead long shots of the smoke-filled hall with its cramped figures arranged into tiers around the wheel like a rendering of Dante’s Inferno in evening dress.  In a world where normal relationships are impossible, Sternberg isolates moments of either detachment or fury.  In contrast to the increasingly frenzied Poppy, who senses herself being slowly crushed as surely as the was figurine that Gin Sling rends with her polished nails, there is the imperturbable Omar, as laconic and icily unreachable as the Dietrich figures in Sternberg’s earlier films.  Omar’s dark skin, hair slick with oil, and hooded eyes complement the moment when he spreads his cape around Poppy like a vampire before kissing her, almost suggesting an incubus who personifies the destruction of the noir underworld.

“Charteris’ appearance in this underworld precipitates the violent denouement, which is a return to the darker vision of Sternberg’s earlier films, a much bleaker vision than that found in the fates of the quixotic figures of the later ‘Macao.’  Poppy’s death not only verifies her observation that ‘anything could happen here, at any moment,’ but also denies any possibility of regeneration.  The irony of Gin Sling’s earlier remark that occasionally ‘Shanghai decides to clean itself like a swan in a muddy lake,’ is that the characters have no such option but are trapped in a miasma of their own dissolution.  For the murdered Poppy, the question of ‘paying’ for her sins is moot.  For Gin Sling and for Charteris, who stumbles out of the casino to suffer a final taunt from the coolie (‘You likee Chinee New Year?’), the question is left open-ended.”  Film Noir, Ed. Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward, The Overlook Press, 1988, p.255-256.

Internet Movie Database Summary:

“A young woman, Poppy, out for excitement in Shanghai, enters a gambling house owned by “Mother” Gin Sling, a dragon-lady who worked herself up from poverty to buy the casino. Sir Guy Charteris, wealthy entrepreneur, has purchased a large area of Shanghai, forcing Gin Sling to vacate by the coming Chinese New Year. Under orders from Gin Sling, who has found out Poppy is Charteris’ daughter, the smarmy Doctor Omar leads Poppy deeper and deeper into an addiction to gambling and alcohol. Gin Sling, realizing that Charteris was her long-ago husband who she thinks abandoned her, plans her revenge by inviting Charteris to a Chinese New Year dinner party to expose his past indiscretions. Charteris, however, has a suprise of his own to spring on Gin Sling.”

Internet Movie Database Review:

“Summary: Everyone has a past…..

“…..in this tawdry melodrama of intrigue, deception and betrayal. Everything is for sale; self-interest is the prime commodity.

“As a kind of Far Eastern “Grand Hotel,” this picture may be short on substance, but its compensation is atmosphere – the exotic type that von Sternberg has employed to advantage elsewhere – and a host of commendable performances. Nothing is what it appears to be: the camera eye moves us forward, but smoke and crowds keep getting in the way; explosive sounds may be firecrackers or gunshots; a mask may be a cover or a revelation.

“Well worth watching, with particular praise reserved for the too-little-known Ona Munson.”

SPIRIT OF WEST POINT, THE  (1947)

C. 1 Oct. 1947  Bro-Rog Pictures Corp.  LP1269
B&W  77 Mins. GC 

Director:                       Ralph Murphy
Writer:                          Tom Reed
Producers:                    Harry Joe Brown, John W. Rogers
Cinematog.:                 Lester White
Art Director:                George C. VanMarter
Editor:                          Harvey Manger
Set Decor.:                    Edward Ray Robinson
Story:                            Mary Howard
Cast:                              Felix “Doc” Blanchard, Glenn Davis, Tom Harmon, Alan Hale, Sr., Anne
Nagel, Robert Shayne, Bill Stern, Lee Bennett, Michael Browne, Tanis
Chandler, William Forrest, John Gallaudet, Mickey McCardle, Mary
Newton, George O’Hanlon, Frank Parker, Margaret Wells, Rudy Wissler

“No need for lengthy explanations about a film called ‘Spirit of West Point,’ starring Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard. It is a typical low-budget job which trades on the brilliant reputations of the Army’s great football pair.  Glenn and Doc show up at West Point, absorb the traditions of the place, get on the team and face the pitfalls–mainly math– of a cadet’s career. Intercut with these dramatized  experiences  are flash-backs to the homelife of the two and a generous assortment of news pictures of Army games in which the duo played. For those who are nuts about football these news reel reminiscences are worthwhile. And with the juvenile trade the shots of West Point and the rah-rah atmosphere will likely score. Furthermore, we will say this for the makers:  They haven’t loaded the story with slush about sweethearts, but rather have kept it in a fairly factual, masculine vein.  However, Messrs. Davis and Blanchard–Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside–are no threats when it comes to acting before the camera, and the supporting cast is no great help.  It is strictly a teen-agers drama that is showing on the Victoria’s screen.” (The New York Times, October 3, 1947)

“….Blanchard, with his perpetual expression of astonishment and his easy Southern drawl, manages to become an individual in front of the camera; Davis is lost in the backgrounds except for his brilliance on the playing field. The picture says that they are great athletes; that they are very close to their families; and that, imbued with the spirit of the academy, they have done the right thing in sticking with the Army.  As a piece of cinema exploitation, it is neither particularly offensive nor particularly praiseworthy.  The supporting cast includes Tom Harmon playing himself in a short scene, and Bill Stern and Harry Wismer to narrate the games….There is a lot of Blanchard-Davis footage in ‘Spirit of West Point,’ but the best of it was made on the football field.” (New York Herald Tribune, October 3, 1947)

“This biopic highlights the illustrious careers of “the touchdown twins,” Heisman Trophy winners Felix “Doc” Blanchard (Mr. Inside) and Glenn Davis (Mr. Outside), two football heroes from West Point.   Featured in the story are actual archival clips of their games.  The drama centers around the decision the two must make: should they go pro or should they stay in the Army?  They choose the latter.  Blanchard and Davis made this film during the 60-day leave they were granted after graduating from the academy.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“The Plan 9 of sports movies., 10 July 2001
….
And that is giving “The Spirit of West Point” all the best of it. Ranking this dead last at the bottom of the list of sports movies—a genre where the list of “greats” can be counted on one hand, and the “goods” wouldn’t exhaust the digits on the other hand—has nothing to do with the non-acting ability of the two leads, West Point All-Americans Glenn Davis and Felix “Doc” Blanchard, who certainly didn’t lose their amateur status by taking money for appearing in this opus. At that, I give both of them the edge over Glen Campbell in “True Grit.” Once past the newsreel footage, (of which, thank goodness, there was a bunch), the only touches of reality came in the use of real names. Prime example of non-reality can be seen in the last part of the film, where the undefeated Black Knights of the Hudson are clinging to a last-quarter three-point lead and Old Navy has the ball. Robert Shayne, as Army coach Colonel Earl “Red” Blaik, checks the wrist watch on his left wrist and announces, “Two minutes to go.” Yes, he got that piece of information from his wrist watch. He is the coach, and he is also keeping the game-clock data on his wrist? Hey, no wonder Army won in those days. Makes one think that if they had been behind, he might have proclaimed “Two hours to go.” The somewhat-more-than-football-savvy Texas audience watching this one at Lubbock’s Lindsey in 1947, mostly doubled up with laughter through the first 70 minutes, gave a loud and relieved round of whooping applause at finding out this turkey only had two minutes to go. The manager said he had only heard a Lubbock audience applaud anything in a movie just once before; that coming in 1939 when Mr. Gable informed Miss Leigh that he frankly didn’t give a damn. He opined that the “two minutes” applause lasted at least two minutes longer than the “damn” applause. Wouldn’t doubt it a bit. “ Internet Movie Database

[NOTE: There is extensive footage of Blanchard and Davis on the field, which would be available for a better-acted and written version.]

STEPCHILD  (1947)

C. 7 June 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1057
B&W  73 Mins.  GC 
   
Director:                      James Flood
Writer:                         Karen de Wolf
Producer:                    Leonard S. Picker
Cinematog.:                Jackson J. Rose
Art Director:               Perry Smith
Music Dir.:                  Irving Friedman
Composer:                   Mario Silva
Editor:                         Alfred de Gaetano
Set Decor.:                   Armor E. Marlowe
Story:                            by Jules Levine
Cast:                             Brenda Joyce, Donald Woods, Terry Austin, Tommy Ivo, Griff Barnett,
Selmar Jackson, Gregory Marshall, James Millican, Ruth Robinson,
Donald Woods

“PRC’s excursion into problem drama with ‘Stepchild’ comes out as a rehash of virtually every film discussion of second marriages.  It’s a picture that can’t be taken seriously despite the dead earnestness with which it’s played. Some of the moments of pathos are as hilarious as slapstick….[it] concerns itself with the second marital try of Donald Woods who, after divorcing Brenda Joyce, takes up with Terry Austin as a means of making a home for his two children. The scheming Miss Austin generally maltreats the kids once she hooks the guy and is ultimately found out after nearly tragic results. A reconciliation with his first mate follows. Film and enactments are pretty elementary.  Virtually every cliche has been written into it and cast is unable to handle its situations with the necessary delicacy.  Consequently the sequences which should move audiences to tears will make metropolitan audiences howl….” (Variety, June 11, 1947)

“In this drama, a single father tries to find a mother for his two children.  Unfortunately, the woman he chooses is so abusive to the kids that the father dumps her and goes back to his first wife.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Although Dale and Ken Bullock should be a happily married couple, their marriage is on the verge of a break-up, because Dale refuses to give up her well-paying job in order to devote more time to Ken and their two children Jimmy, age 9, and Tommy, age 6. They sue for divorce and the Judge rules that the children be placed in the custody of their father. Dale realizes what she has lost but she is too proud to say anything to Ken, whom she still loves. Ken, shopping for the perfect stay-at-home wife to take care of his children, falls for the charms of his secretary, Millie Lynch. Not quite.” Internet Movie Database

STRANGE ILLUSION (a/k/a OUT OF THE NIGHT) (1945)

C. 31 March 1945 P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  L 13657
B&W  80 Mins.  PD 
   
Director:                      Edgar G. Ulmer
Writer:                         Adele Comandini
Producer:                     Leon Fromkess
Cinematog.:                 Philip Tannura
Art Director:                Paul Palmentola
Music Dir.:                   Leo Erdody
Editor:                           Carl Pierson
Set Decor.:                    Elias H. Reif/Harry Reif
Costumes:                     Harold Bradow
Story:                             Fritz Rotter
Cast:                              James Lydon, Sally Eilers, Regis Toomey, Warren William, Charles Arnt,
Jameson Clark, Jimmy Clark, John Hamilton, Jayne Hazard, Mary
McLeod, Victor Potel, George H. Reed, Sonia Sorel, Pierre Watkin

“Adolescent Paul Cartwright believes that his father’s death and his mother’s plans for remarriage are not merely coincidental.  This suspicion becomes solidified after he receives a letter written by his father before the man was found dead. Spurred on by this message from beyond the grave, Paul decides to feign insanity in the hopes of catching his mother’s suitor off guard and exposing him as his father’s murderer. Committed to an asylum by his mother at the prompting of her fiancé, Brett Curtis, the youth is subjected to intense scrutiny by the hospital staff. The plan nearly backfires in the sinister surroundings of the asylum, which drives Paul to the edge of sanity. Finally, the youth gathers enough evidence to convict his mother’s lover as his father’s murderer.

“Strange Illusion is another stylish, low-budget feature directed by Edgar G. Ulmer; but unlike his other noir efforts, notably Detour and Ruthless, Strange Illusion is a relatively actionless production.  The most interesting aspect of the film rests in its updating of Hamlet, complete with the message from beyond the grave and the faked insanity, into a contemporary thriller. The noir tone of Strange Illusion is accentuated by both Warren William’s portrayal of the lecherous cad and the claustrophobic atmosphere of the mental hospital. William, who for the previous decade had been one of the Warner’s studios matinee idols, adds a naturalistic dimension to the character of the suave, middle-aged gigolo Brett who leers at teenage girls lounging around a private pool. The asylum sequences, on the other hand, are controlled visions of chaos and corruption, a mental hell sardonically defined by Ulmer.” (Film Noir, Silver and Ward, The Overlook Press, 1979)

“In a “Hamlet”-type plot, a young man is concerned about his widowed Mother’s plans to remarry, particularly in light of his suspicions about the death of his Father. He pretends to an insanity which gets him nowhere but into an insane asylum, where he very nearly loses it altogether.  Pretty chilling, but otherwise slow and doesn’t hold together as well as “Hamlet.” “Corel All Movie Guide 2
“Paul, a young man whose father was once lieutenant Governor of California before his untimely death, has a strange, recurring dream in which his mother falls in love with a dangerous man (Brett Curtis), a dream which also contains the image of his father’s death in an automobile accident under mysterious circumstances. Through the help of his friend, a psychiatrist, Paul realizes that his dream is coming true, and that his mother is falling under Curtis’s influence. Curtis, in fact, is a homicidal maniac who lives as an out-patient at the sanitarium of the unscrupulous Dr. Muhlbach. When Curtis makes an attempt to marry Paul’s mother, Paul intervenes, and after a series of events discovers that Muhlbach and Curtis murdered Paul’s father many year earlier,just as it happened in Paul’s dream.”  Internet Movie Database

STRANGE IMPERSONATION  (1946)

C. 5 Mar. 1946  Republic Pictures Corp. LP240
B&W  60 Mins.  GC 
    
Director:                      Anthony Mann
Writer:                          Mindret Lord
Producers:                   W. Lee Wilder/William Wilder
Cinematog.:                 Robert Pittack
Music Dir.:                  Alexander Laszlo
Editor:                         John Link
Story:                           Anne Wigton and Herman Lewis
Cast:                             William Gargan, Hillary Brooke, Brenda Marshall, Lyle Talbot,
H.B.Warner, George Chandler, Ruth Ford, Cay Forester, Richard Scott,
Mary Treen

“Nora Goodrich (Brenda Marshall), a chemist with the Wilmotte Institute, is discoverer of a new anesthesia, and confides to her assistant Arline… that she intends to perform the first experiment on herself. Dr. Stephan Lindstron (William Gargan), Nora’s fiancé and co-worker, receives word he must leave immediately for France, and wants Nora to marry him and make the trip with him. Unknown to him, Nora plans to take the anesthesia that evening with Arline’s help. She promises Stephan his answer next day. That afternoon, after Nora leaves the laboratory, a half-drunk girl, Jane Karaski… falls in the path of Nora’s car, but is unhurt. Ambulance-chaser J. W. Rinse… tries to press his services on both girls, but they refuse… Nora drives Jane to the girl’s shabby one-room apartment, and leaves Jane twenty-five dollars. At Nora’s apartment, that evening, she instructs Arline in the administration of the second injection, warning her that more than 5 c.c.’s of fluid in the beaker will cause an explosion. Arline waits until Nora is asleep, then  deliberately pours the fluid until it registers ’20.’ She rushes for the door just as Stephan enters the apartment. He is too late to prevent the explosion, but he … rushes [Nora] to a hospital. Nora’s face is heavily bandaged, and while she is lying in the hospital, Arline maneuvers affairs so that the doctor forbids Stephan from visiting Nora…Meantime, Nora… at a loss to understand Stephan’s absence, believes it is because her face is scarred. Stephan is compelled to see more and more of Arline–as the only source of direct news of Nora. He is led to believe that Nora does not want to see him at all.” Nora returns home, badly scarred, and Jane attempts blackmail; in a struggle to gain control of Jane’s gun, Jane falls off the balcony and is killed. Stephan mistakenly identifies Jane’s corpse as Nora. Nora mistakenly leaves with Jane’s purse, and undergoes plastic surgery, emerging with Jane’s face. She reads of Stephan’s pending marriage to Arline, and obtains a job at the Institute.  Stephan, now married to Arline, falls in love with her, not knowing that she is really Nora, his old true love. Stephan and Nora plan to leave for France to undertake the medical research project.  Arline, recognizing “Jane” as the original Nora, arranges for Rinse, the ambulance-chasing attorney, to falsely identify “Jane” to the police as the killer of Nora. Nobody believes that “Jane” is in reality Nora, and Arline refuses to back up her story. “The scene changes, and once again we are back in Nora’s old apartment where the experiment first took place. At this moment, Stephan is sitting beside Nora on the couch, shaking her by the shoulders. Nora opens her eyes, runs to the mirror, finds she is still Nora and touches her face unbelievingly. It has all been a bad dream.  She promises gladly–to marry Stephan next day.” (publicity release)

“In this complex drama, a female chemist decides to test out her new formula for an anesthetic upon herself.  Her assistant helps her.  Unfortunately, something goes terribly awry and the woman ends up jilted by her fiancé, blackmailed, and horribly disfigured.  Fortunately, things are not as they seem.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“A research scientist conducting experiments on a new anaesthetic finds herself being blackmailed by a women she accidentally knocked down with her car; the woman wasn’t hurt, but a scheming attorney has convinced her she can get a lot of money for the “accident.” Meanwhile, the scientist’s research assistant, who is in love with her boss’ boyfriend, arranges for an explosion in the laboratory that disfigures the scientist’s face, in order to take the boyfriend away from her. The scientist has plastic surgery to make her look like the woman who tried to blackmail her – who while struggling with the scientist fell out of a window and was killed – and determines to get back her boyfriend and punish her scheming assistant. “ Internet Movie Database

STRANGLER OF THE SWAMP (a/k/a STRANGLER FROM THE SWAMP)  (1946)

C. 6 Jan. 1946  PRC Pictures, Inc.  L12  
B&W  60 Mins.  GC 

Director:                        Frank Wisbar
Writers:                          Harold Erickson, Frank Wisbar
Producer:                       Raoul Pagel
Cinematog.:                   James S. Brown, Jr.
Art Director:                  Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:                     Alex Steinert
Editor:                            Hugh Wynn
Set Decor.:                     Glenn Thompson
Story:                             Frank Wisbar and Leo McCarthy
Cast:                               Robert H. Barrat, Rosemary La Planche, Blake Edwards, Charles
Middleton, Frank Conlan, Virginia Farmer, Nolan Leary, Therese Lyon,
Effie Parnell    

            
“The basic ingredients of ‘Strangler of the Swamp,’ the New York Theater’s current invitation to gooseflesh, are one swamp, constant and heavy mist which dissipates neither night nor day, and a ghostly strangler. The strangler is the best part of the picture because you never know whether he’s real or just a figment of the imaginations of guilty folk. There is the unjust lynching of the fellow who used to operate the hand-ferry over that swamp. He was blamed for a murder another had committed, and before anyone had guessed a contrary solution, he was a ghost and strictly limited to ghostly revenges. Various people die in several ways, but always there is a choice between a natural death and a strangler’s handiwork. Eventually the ghost himself becomes visible to the greatest doubter of all, stout-hearted Robert Barrat. But just at the climax, when the young hero is about to die mysteriously and his girl is defending him with a mystic determination to sacrifice herself willingly to the ghost’s ministrations, the ghost fades away. Thus the choice of reality or figment remains entirely open, which is a rare and splendid occurrence to record among the little ‘B’ chillers.  Consistency to one side for the time being, ‘Strangler of the Swamp’ deserves commendation for leaving its complete solution hanging in the air just as the subtler type of ghost is wont to do.” (New York Post, January 28, 1946)

“….The haunt…exists…because a man named Douglas is unjustly hanged for murder. Protesting his innocence to the last, the ferryman has called down a curse upon those responsible for his fate, and soon the superstitious swampland folk are subject to strangely violent deaths. One man is thrown from a horse and strangled by the reins; another is garroted while stringing a clothesline; another choked by a fishnet and still another hanged in trying to destroy the noose which was used on Douglas.  Although Douglas himself is subsequently proved innocent by a confession left by one of his victims, his spirit continues with vengeance until the power of the church and a young girl’s courage combine to dissolve the demon. Robert Barratt is well cast and extremely able as Christian Sanders, community leader who tries to dissuade the people from credence in the Douglas curse and urges them to drain the swampland for a church site.  Rosemary La Planche appears as feminine star and for romance with Blake Edwards.  Villain is Charles Middleton.” (New York Daily News, January 28, 1946)

“In the very early 30s, Frank Wisbar (a director always more associated with artistic experiment than with commercial success) made a remarkable German fantasy film entitled Farhman Maria (Ferryman Maria), which starred that unique actress Sybille Schmitz, so effective as the Vampire’s chief victim in Carl Dreyer’s Vampyr. Although not a horror film, it dealt partially with the supernatural, and like so many German films of its type, featured a personalized Death. While it perhaps owed its initial inspiration to Fritz Lang’s Destiny, it was a unique and original film that has surprisingly been ignored by the standard histories of film… Only in David Stewart Hull’s Film in the Third Reich, published as late as 1969, does one find the film finally acknowledged–and, happily, praised. Wisbar’s Hollywood career was, unfortunately, quite unworthy of him, largely limited to the 1940s and ‘B’ products at PRC [Producers Releasing Corporation] and Republic–including… The Devil Bat’s Daughter.  But the action-and-melodrama-oriented production executives at PRC for once were sold a bill of goods themselves, for Wisbar’s Strangler of the Swamp is a simpler reworking of his old classic Farhman Maria. The heroine–named Maria, and played by Rosemary La Planche– arrives to take over the operation of the lonely ferry when her grandfather, who runs it, is killed. The community is haunted by the spectre of a man hanged years before for a murder of which he is innocent; he returns periodically to cause the deaths (usually by accidental hanging–entrapment by undergrowth vines, or the rope of the ferry itself) of the men responsible for his death. His curse extends to their descendants too, and can only be ended when one of them voluntarily offers his or her life to him in final expiation.  Ultimately, in order to save the man she loves (Blake Edwards, in his pre-director and pre-Julie Andrews days), Maria offers herself to the wraith. In the traditional, German romanticist- fantasies, like Nosferatu, the sacrifice would be accepted, and the woman would die–bringing peace and life to those she loved.  However, such a denouement would have been unthinkable for PRC, already caught napping with this Gothic mood piece. They settled for the wraith’s being satisfied by the gesture and returning to the grave, having first made his own peace with God, and leaving the way clear for a traditional happy ending. Like most of the old German fantasies, the film is totally stylized, and virtually all studio made…. The first third of the film is particularly effective: the (justified) fears and superstitions of the villagers, the matter-of-fact acceptance of the supernatural, the eerie clanging of the ferry signal at night, and the gradual manifestation of the ghost (played by Charles Middleton) are sparse and well- handled; no special effects or shimmering lights, merely a grim, barely definable shape that merges with the shadows and the night…. But lowest-rung grade ‘B’ or not [Strangler of the Swamp] is a commendable attempt to do something different with a standardized genre (serious ghost stories were still rare on the screen in 1945…) and, most of all, it is an example of how genuine feeling and style can be extracted from even the cheapest film if the director cares.” (Classics of the Horror Film, Everson, The Citadel Press, 1974)

“A ferryman who was wrongly hanged for murder haunts the swamp near the town where he was executed.  He strangles those responsible one by one.” Corel All Movie Guide 2
    
“A number of swamp land men have died by strangulation and the inhabitants believe that an innocent man they hanged is seeking revenge on all of the male descendants of those responsible for his death. Maria, granddaughter of the innocent ferryman, decides to operate the ferry service. Chris Sanders, a son of one of the men who did the hanging, and Maria fall in love. The “strangler” seizes Chris and Maria offers her life if Chris is spared.  “ Internet Movie Database

THAT’S MY BABY (a/k/a THAT’S MY BABY – EIN MANN SIEHT ROSA) (1944)

C. 1 Sept. 1944  Republic Pictures Corp.  LP12829
B&W  67 Mins.  PD 
   
Director:                       Lester William Berke
Writers:                        Nicholas Barrows, William Tunberg
Producer:                     Walter Colmes
Cinematog.:                 Robert Pittack
Art Director:                Frank Dexter
Music Dir.:                   Jay Chernis
Editor:                          Robert Jahns
Story:                            Irving Wallace
Cast:                             Richard Arlen, Ellen Drew, Richard Bailey, Billy Benedict, Alex Callam,
Jack Chefe, Fred Fisher, Isabelita, Pat Kelly, Leonid Kinskey, Adia
Kuznetzkoff, Lyle Latell, Marjorie Manners, Frank Mitchell, Minor Watson

“Better than average” musical starring Richard Arlen and Ellen Drew. They’re faced with the problem of pulling her dad out of a severe psychiatric depression. “Among the specialties are the Freddie Fisher and Mike Riley Bands; Gene Rogers, Negro boogie-woogie pianist, Isabelita, and the Guadaliara Boys. All are seen briefly, with good results.”  (Variety, October 25,  1945)

“This interesting film offers a blend of animation, live-action, comedy, drama and music.  The story centers on an engaged couple who try to help the bride-to-be’s depressed father find happiness again.  Dave Fleischer (“Popeye’s” animator) provides the animation.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“There’s nobody named “Peggy” in the cast, that’s “Peppy” the tall jitterbug clown-dancer. Plus, “Peanuts” is not playing “himself” but “herself,” she’s the tiny jitterbug dancer. The team were called “Peppy and Peanuts” and they appear in a couple of soundies and two films, very obscure, but were once popular on the burlesque circuit as burlesque included comedy dance teams pretty regularly. 
They had a really a charming act, and it’s great to see part of it preserved in this little film. How sad they’re so forgotten, and even miscredited. The film also provides a chance to see part of the act of Mike Riley and His Musical Maniacs. The “Crying” routine was one of his best known. It’s awful, but it reportedly made audiences hysterical in the burlesque houses. Riley owned The Madhouse in Hollywood, a tavern never forgotten by anyone who ever saw the inside, designed to be packed with sight gags.”  Internet Movie Database

THREE ON A TICKET  (1947)

C. 3 March 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP857
B&W  60 Mins.  GC
    
Director:                    Sam Newfield
Writer:                        Fred Myton
Producer:                   Sigmund Neufeld
Cinematog.:               John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Music Dir.:                Dick Carruth
Composer:                 Emil Cadkin
Editor:                       Holbrook Todd
Set Decor.:                 Elias H. Reif/Harry Reif
Story:                         Brett Halliday
Cast:                          Hugh Beaumont, Cheryl Walker, Ralph Dunn, Louise Currie, Paul Bryar,
Gavin Gordon, Brooks Benedict, Noel Cravat, Douglas Fowley, Charles
King, Trudy Marshall, Charles Quigley

Stars Hugh Beaumont as detective Mike Shayne in “a good action whodunit story…at a smart clip that will please.  Suspense is maintained by playing and direction and production mounting obtains values better than expected from budget expenditure.  Plot… deals with the dauntless private eye’s adventures while trying to outguess a choice bunch of doublecrossing crooks… all after cache of bank loot hidden in a railroad locker.   Ticket necessary to recover loot has been torn into thirds and holders all are trying to obtain parts held by others…. Hugh Beaumont is excellent as Shayne and his work is ably backed by Cheryl Walker, who gives considerable life to the role of the private detective’s smart secretary….others in cast are good… Lensing… settings, and other production ingredients are expert.”  (Variety, April 9, 1947)

“In this detective drama, Michael Shayne, private investigator, must put together three pieces of a torn railway locker ticket before a gang of crooks can do it so he can be the first to open a locker containing the loot from a recent heist.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“A private detective, who has been shot, stumbles into the office of Michael Shayne (Hugh Beaumont), and dies before Shayne can question him. Shayne finds a baggage ticket in his hand. He claims it and finds the checked-bag contains the loot from a robbery. Now, he has about fifty minutes left of the running time to find the crooks, bring them to justice and return the money to the rightful owners. And needs all of it.” Internet Movie Database

TOO MANY WINNERS  (1947)

C. 24 May 1947  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP1021
B&W  60 Mins.  GC 
   
Director:                            William Beaudine
Writer:                                John Sutherland
Producer:                           John Sutherland
Cinematog.:                       John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Art Director:                      Tommy Thompson
Composer:                         Alvin Levin
Editor:                                Harry Reynolds
Story:                                  Brett Halliday
Cast:                                   Hugh Beaumont, Byron Foulger, Trudy Marshall, Ralph Dunn, Claire
Carleton, John Hamilton, Charles Mitchell, Jean Andren, Frank S.
Hagney, George Meader, Ben Welden

Good mystery with Hugh Beaumont as private detective Mike Shayne. “This time crime threatens to halt duck-hunting vacation planned by Beaumont and his secretary, looker Trudy Marshall.  He has to turn a quick job of solving mystery of how winning pari-mutual tickets are being counterfeited.”  Detective is “punched around plenty and a number of murders tossed in for extra measure to provide thrills while private eye is  unraveling case. It doesn’t take him long to spot the culprit as the race-track manager and case is closed with chief suspects and main heavy all bumped off…. Plenty of action for whodunit flavor.”  (Variety, June  4, 1947)

“In this suspenseful crime drama, the very last in the “Michael Shayne” series, the ace detective goes off duck hunting for some well deserved rest and relaxation.  While there he does more than play with fowl; he also uncovers foul play and breaks up a counterfeiting ring.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Michael Shayne accepts an assignment to investigate a gang of pari-mutual race tickets counterfeiters over the protests of his secretary, Phyllis Hamilton, who wants him to join her on a vacation. Shayne contacts Mayme Martin who offers him information, and sends his friend Tim Rourke to get it. Tim arrives to find Inspector Rafferty there as Mayme has been murdered. Shayne has gone to the race track to see Jim Payson and Al Hardeman, the operators. Two thugs, Joe and Punk, take shots at Shayne and he is wounded. He later learns that a printer, Madden and his engraving foreman Edwards served time for counterfeiting Irish sweepstake tickets and Shayne thinks he has the case solved… until Madden and Edwards turn up murdered. “ Internet Movie Database

TOWN WENT WILD, THE  (1944)

C. 15 Dec. 1944  PRC Pictures, Inc.  LP13008
B&W  72 Mins.  PD 
   
Director:                             Ralph Murphy
Writers:                               Clarence Greene, Bernard R. Roth, Russell Rouse
Producers:                          Clarence Greene, Bernard R. Roth, Russell Rouse
Cinematog.:                        Philip Tannura
Art Director:                       George C. VanMarter
Music Dir.:                          David Chudnow
Editor:                                 Thomas Neff
Costumes:                           Karlice
Cast:                                    Freddie Bartholomew, James Lydon, Edward Everett Horton, Tom
Tully, Jill Browning, Minna Gombell, Frederick Burton, Monte Collins,
Jr., Jimmy Conlin, Maude Eburne, Charles Halton, Olin Howland
[Howlin], Ruth Lee, Emmett Lynn, Charles Middleton, Roberta Smith,
Ferris Taylor, Dorothy Vaughan, Will Wright

Fair comedy starring Edward Everett Horton and Tom Tully.  “Story centers about two feuding next-door neighbors… Each has a son, and one has a daughter too. Two neighboring youngsters are in love, elope, and discover in process of getting marriage license that legal documents indicate they may be brother and sister. In due time, legal tangles are unsnarled, the lovers are  united, and the battling fathers become closest of pals.  (Variety, April 11, 1945)

“In this romantic comedy, two warring neighbors are aghast when their respective daughter and son fall in love and plant to marry.  Despite their parents’ objections they begin planning and getting the legal paper work done; it is then they learn they could be brother and sister.  Fortunately, the situation is straightened out and the two end up related only by marriage.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Feuding fathers deal with the shocking news that their sons were switched at birth, meaning that one of their daughters is about to marry her own brother. ….Low-Grade attempt to make a movie in the Preston Sturges vein. It has some Sturges elements: risque subject matter (incestuous engagement), over-the-top angry fathers, small-town politicians, and a fair amount of shouting, — it even has Sturges regular Jimmy Conlin, but it has none of the Sturges dialogue, speed, or timing.” Internet Movie Database 

TROCADERO  (1944)

C. 29 February 1944 Republic Pictures Corp. LP12544
B&W  74 Mins.  PD   
  
Director:                          William Nigh
Producer:                         Walter Colmes
Cinematog.:                     Jackson J. Rose
Music Dir.;                      Jay Chernis
Composer:                       Jay Chernis
Editor:                              Robert Crandall
Story:                                Charles F. Chaplin, Garrett Holmes
Cast:                                 Rosemary Lane, Sheldon Leonard, Ralph Morgan, Johnny “Scat” Downs,
Charles Calvert, Dave Fleischer, Ruth Hilliard, Ida James, Erskine
Johnson, Marjorie Manners, Cliff Nazarro, Dick Purcell, Dewey
Robinson, the Starbusters, Emmett Vogan

“A story of a Hollywood nitery, ‘Trocadero’ is a mildly entertaining musical with a potpourri of talent that should make it right for the duals. Story has two adopted children, played by Johnny Downs and Rosemary Lane, being left a night club at the end of Prohibition by their foster-father. Pickings are lean until they hire a swing band that skyrockets the club to fame.  Separate romances of both children make for the love interest.  Eight new songs are introduced in addition to two revivals, none of them outstanding. Following the vogue of having ‘name’ bands, picture has Eddie LeBaron (actual owner of the Troc), Bob Chester, Marty Malneck and Gus Arnheim. Wingy Mannone is in for one bit doing a musical and vocal rendition of “the Music Goes Round and Round,’ Ida James warbles ‘Shoo Shoo Baby,’ and the Stardusters do one number. Club background is also used to drag in the Radio Rogues with their imitations, Cliff Nazarro singing and making with the double-talk, and cartoonist Dave Fleischer doing some drawing. Rosemary Lane, looking very well, is convincing in the emotional scenes, and does several songs in good style, while Johnny Downs does a hoofing routine and acts with assurance. Rest of the cast do satisfactorily.” (Variety, April 26, 1944)

“In this musical, two young people inherit their father’s nightclub.  The joint teeters on the brink of bankruptcy until they bring in exciting jazz music and entertaining acts ranging from comedy to cartoonists.  Songs include: “Shoo-Shoo Baby” (Phil Moore), “The Music Goes ‘Round and Around” (Red Hodgson, Ed Farley, Mike Riley), “Roundabout Way” (Sidney Clare, Lew Porter), “Bullfrog Jump,” “How Could You Do That Too Me” (Porter), “The King Was Doing the Rhumba” (Jay Chernis, Porter), “Trying to Forget” (Tony Romano), and “Can’t Take the Place of You” (Walter Colmes, Porter).” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Judy and Johnny are orphaned siblings being raised by Tony Rocadero, a Hollywood restaurateur who knows no limit in supporting his adopted children, even sending them both off to college. When Tony dies suddenly, one of them has to return home to keep the establishment open. The film opens with a present-day (present-day 1944) sequence of cameo appearances by 1940s Hollywood celebrities, then becomes a series of flashbacks explaining the history of the Hollywood Trocadero, usually in the form of musical numbers by the various types of big band, singing-dancing and stand-up acts which had kept the club going. Along the way, both Judy and Johnny find love and learn the difference between pretentious upper-class fronting and real-people sincerity. There’s nothing that stands out about the film, but in 1944 watching it in a heated theater certainly beat sitting at home in the dark.” Internet Movie Database

TWO LOST WORLDS  (1950)

C. 29 Oct. 1950  Sterling Productions, Inc.  LP520
B&W  63 Mins.  GC  

Director:                           Norman Dawn/Norman Kennedy
Writer:                              Tom Hubbard
Producer:                         Boris Petroff
Cinematog.:                     Harry Neumann
Composer:                       Michael Terr
Music:                              Alex Alexander
Editor:                              Fred R. Feitshans, Jr.
Art Direction:                  Denny Hall
Cast:                                 James Arness, Laura Elliott, Bill Kennedy, Gloria Petroff, Tom Hubbard,
Pierre Watkin, Kasey Rogers, Michael Rye, Fred Kohler Jr., Tim Graham,
Richard Bartell, Robert Carson, JoeyRay, Charlene Hawks, Herman
Cantor, Guy Bellis, James Guilfoyle, Charles Regan, Dan Riss, Eddie
Borden, Hank Mann, Cap Somers  

James Arness is an “American clipper ship captain who is left in Queensland, sheep raising colony of Australia, to recuperate from injuries suffered in a pirate attack. The captain and two aides fall in love with some Aussie beauts, but their romances are interrupted by a ‘phantom’ pirate raiding the settlement.  That calls for a rescue, with a rip-roaring fight between two sailing crafts… From this battle, the hero and some of his  pals wind up on an unknown island.”  (Variety, January  31, 1951)

“The story of a young hero who battles prehistoric creatures when he and his shipmates are shipwrecked on an deserted island.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

Thrills! Adventure! An American Clipper ship Captain who is left in Queensland, sheep-raising colony of Australia, to recuperate from injuries suffered in a pirate attack falls at the same time as his two aides in love with some Australian girls; but their romances are interrupted by a “phantom” pirate raiding the settlement.  That calls for a rescue, with a rip-roaring fight between two sailing ships furnishing the most genuine excitement.  From this battle the hero and some of his pals wind up on an unknown island, tabbed as being part of the Dutch East Indies.  It takes a volcano eruption to bring the story to a happy ending; most of the action revolves around the swash-buckling energetic he-man type who communicates with snappy, manly dialogue: James Arness, the big Yankee he-man and ship capitain, and Laura Elliot, the Australian lass he falls in love with.  Bill Kinnedy plays the Australian villain, and Gloria Petroff plays the precocious young girl from an old Australian family.  Jane Harlan, Fred Kohler Jr., and Tim Grahame head the supporting cast.

From the Movie poster: “PREHISTORIC, PRIMITIVE, PRIMEVAL MONSTERS OF 100,000,000 YEARS AGO… Alive AGAIN TODAY!  MADDENED MASTODONS FIGHT FOR SAVAGE WOMEN.  SPECTACULAR WONDROUS EARTH SHAKING ADVENTURES AS MAN BATTLES MONSTER IN THE SCREEN’S MOST AWESOME SPECTACLE. Beyond imagination…the weird sloth, giant congorillas, poisonous lizards, venom vultures!”

“When the American clipper ship “The Queen” is attacked by pirates off the Hebrides in 1830, Mate Kirk Hamilton is injured and must be put ashore at Queensland Colony, Australia, for treatment and recuperation. There, he meets and falls in love with Elaine Jeffries, daughter of the magistrate and all-but-fiancée to rancher Martin Shannon. She also finds herself attracted to Kirk, and a rivalry develops between the two men. Meantime the pirates, led by Captain Hackett, decide to raid the colony and, in the process kidnap Elaine and her friend, Nancy. Kirk and Shannon lead the pursuit, having not only the romantic triangle to resolve but the pirates to overcome and, along the way, being stranded on a volcanic island inhabited by dinosaurs…” Internet Movie Database

UNKNOWN ISLAND  (1948)

C. 1 December 1948  Albert Jay Cohen Productions, Inc. LP2087
Cinecolor 75 Mins.  GC 

Director:                    Jack Bernhard
Writers:                     Jack Harvey, Robert T. Shannon
Producer:                  Albert J. Cohen
Cinematog.:              Fred Jackman
Art Director:             Jerome Pycha, Jr.
Composer:                 Ralph Stanley
Editor:                       Harry Gerstad
Set Decor.:                 Robert Priestley
Makeup:                     Harry Ross
Spec.Eff.:                   Howard A. Anderson, Ellis Burman
Story:                         Robert T. Shannon
Cast:                           Barton MacLane, Virginia Grey, Richard Denning, Philip  Reed, Dick
Wessel, Dan White, Phil Nazir, Ray Corrigan, “Snub” Pollard, Harry Wilson

“….a pretty flabby piece of fanciful movie-making in the ‘King Kong’ and ‘Lost World’ line. What it does is recount the adventures of a group of intrepid folk on an uncharted island in the South Pacific where primordial monsters still survive. (At least, they’re supposed to be primordial, with a leopard or two mixed in.) But unfortunately these monsters are just obvious rubber machines, and the people who do battle with them (and among themselves) look mechanical, too. Indeed, it would be hard to tell you which have the lower I.Q.’s–the monsters or the gutta percha people played by Richard Denning, Virginia Grey and Barton MacLane. It might be added that the film is in Cinecolor, dominated by a shade of sickly green.” (The New York Times, January 8, 1949)

“An expedition of scientists sail to a strange Pacific Island in hopes of taking pictures of living dinosaurs.  One of the explorers brings his lovely fiancee who during their adventures, jilts him in favor of another less obsessed with the mission.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Adventure-seeker Ted Osborne has convinced his finacee Carole to finance his expedition to an uncharted South Pacific island supposedly populated with dinosaurs. Piloting their ship is Captain Tarnowski, a ruthless alcoholic suffering from malaria- induced bouts of insanity. When they arrive at the island, they discover that the stories they have heard are all true. Will they survive to tell anyone what they’ve found?” Internet Movie Database

[NOTE: Richard Denning, born Louis Albert Heinrich Denninger in Poughkeepsie, New York, was best known for his roles in the television series “Mr. and Mrs. North” and “Hawaii Five-O” (in which he played, for 12 years, the role of the Governor of Hawaii), died in October 1998. He appeared in BEYOND THE BLUE HORIZON, with Dorothy Lamour, SOME LIKE IT HOT, THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, ADAM HAD FOUR SONS, THE LADY TAKES A FLYER, and AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER, in which he played Deborah Kerr’s fiancé.  His first wife was actress Evelyn Ankers, who died in 1985.]
                            

WAVE, A WAC, AND A MARINE, A  (1944)

C. 26 Aug. 1944  Monogram Pictures Corp.  LP12837
B&W  67 Mins.  GC   
   
Director:                        Phil Karlson/Karlstein
Writer:                           Hal Fimberg
Cinematog.:                  Maury Gertsman
Music Dir.:                    Freddie Rich
Music,Lyrics:                Edward Cherkose
Composer:                     Freddie Rich
Editor:                           William Austin
Cast:                              Henny Youngman, Connie Haynes, Elyse Knox, Sally Eilers, Richard Lane,
Ramsay Ames, Alan Dinehart, Ann Gillis, Cy Kendall, Charles “Red”
Marshall, Aileen Pringle, Marjorie Woodworth   

                             
Motion picture debut of Henny Youngman, who subsequently described it as “My first picture wasn’t released, it escaped.” Produced by comedian Lou Costello and his father, Sebastian Cristillo.

“It’s too bad that the studio couldn’t have found an A picture in which to introduce Youngman, who emerges as a potential screen personality. But even the redoubtable Hope would have laid an egg in this little opus, which strives to be farcical by resurrecting every defunct device except pie-throwing. For the record, the story is about a field man for a film agency who comes to New York to sign the stars of a musical comedy and engages the understudies by mistake. Things look very bad for the home team until the producer discovers quite by accident that the understudies are really much more talented than the stars, who had been brought to him by a rival agent. But the picture is not even that good.” (New York Herald Tribune, August 14, 1944)

“Henny Youngman makes his feature film debut in this lively comedy.  He plays a talent agent who mistakes two understudies for the two stars of his upcoming show.  Fortunately it all comes out in the end when he discovers that the mistaken actresses are really quite talented.  Songs include:  “Time Will Tell,” “Gee, I Love My G.I. Guy,” and “Carry On” (Eddie Cherkose, Jacques Press, Freddie Rich).” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Henny, talent scout for the Margaret Ames Film Agency in Hollywood, mistakes Judy and Marian, the understudies, for Eileen and Betty, the real stars of a Broadway show and signs them up for movies. Margaret, furious with Henny for the blunder, fires him—but only temporarily. Another agent, Marty Allen, once married to and still in love with Margaret, signs Betty and Eileen. Henny arrives with Judy and Marian, and the nightclub manager asks Henny to emcee the show. Though he is not sure himself what they can do, Henny introduces the girls and they make a hit in a dramatic sketch. (Simmer down, it’s just a Monogram movie, and their nightclub attendees can react anyway director Phil Karlstein/Karlson wants them to.) Big-time movie producer R. J. signs them to a film contract. So, what does this have to do with the title, “A WAVE, a WAC and a Marine”? Because Judy joins the WAVES, Marian the WACS and Marty the Marines and all have two weeks before induction, and that is more than long enough to shoot a Monogram musical-within-a-Monogram musical and have a few days to spare.” Internet Movie Database

WHITE PONGO  (1945)

C. 10 Aug. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13598
B&W  73 Mins.  PD   
  
Director:                             Sam Newfield
Writer:                                Ray Schrcok
Producer:                           Sigmund Newfeld
Cinematog.:                       John H. Greenhalgh, Jr.
Art Director:                      Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:                        Leo Erdody
Editor:                               Holbrook Todd
Story:                                 Raymond L. Schrock
Cast:                                  Richard Fraser, Maris Wrixon, Gordon Richards, Lionel Royce, Egon
Brecher, Michael Dyne, Al Eben, Joel Fluellen, Milt Kibbee, George
Lloyd, Larry Steers, Maris Wrizen

Campy “story of a safari’s long trek through the Belgian Congo in search of a white gorilla supposed to be the missing link…. Plot strains credulity all the way with stock shots of jungle beasts having no bearing on the story thrown in at random. In the middle of the jungle the safari guide and several of his riflemen mutiny, kidnap the daughter of the British scientist who heads the expedition, and leave the rest of the party stranded while they set off to find a fabulous gold field.  White gorilla strangles the guide and takes the gal off to his  jungle cave. He gets into a poorly-staged fight with a black gorilla just as the stranded party, who have followed, arrive in the nick.  As the albino dashes his adversary over a cliff, the rifleman wound him… and put him in a cage to take him back alive to England, where the scientist hopes to prove he is the missing link.” (Variety, December 5, 1945)
 
“African explorers hit the Congo in search of a rare white gorilla in this campy jungle adventure filled with deliciously goofy special effects.  The British biologists believe the white ape will prove to be the missing link.  A British undercover cop accompanies the explorers because he believes the guide to be a killer.  He is and soon causes the native bearers to revolt.  He abandons the scientists to face the jungle alone.  Before leaving, the guide kidnaps the expedition leader’s lovely daughter.  He then sets off to find some legendary gold.  He ends up stumbling into the ancient home of the blonde ape.  The primate doesn’t like visitors and so strangles the killer and takes the hapless girl, her terrified bosom heaving seductively through her tattered blouse, to his lair.  There the blonde ape must fight a regular gorilla. While the two muscle-bound hairballs fight it out, the undercover bobby and the scientists arrive.  The white gorilla tosses his rival off a cliff and returns for some booty.  Unfortunately, the explorers wound him and put him in a cage.  They then return to England with their prize.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Suspecting that a safari guide is a wanted killer, undercover policeman Geoffrey Bishop (Richard Fraser) joins a safari led by the suspect for a scientist that hopes to find and prove that a fabled white gorilla is a missing link. “ Internet Movie Database

 WHY GIRLS LEAVE HOME  (1945)

C. 5 Nov. 1945  P.R.C. Pictures, Inc.  LP13590
B&W  69 Mins.  GC 
   
Director:                               Lester William Berke
Writers:                                 Fanya Foss Lawrence, Bradford Ropes
Producer:                              Sam Sax
Cinematog.:                          Mack Stengler
Art Director:                         Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:                            Walter Greene
Music,Lyrics:                        Ray Evans, Jay Livingston
Editor:                                    Carl Pierson
Set Decor.:                             Glenn Thompson
Story:                                      Fanya Lawrence
Cast:                                       Pamela Blake, Sheldon Leonard, Elisha Cook, Jr., Lola Lane, Walter S.
Baldwin,  Virginia Brissac, Evelyn Eaton, Paul Guilfoyle, Thomas
Jackson, Robert Emmett Keane, Fred Kohler, Jr., Constance Worth

Academy Award Nominations:
    Best Score, Walter Greene
    Best Song, Ray Evans
    Best Song, Ray Livingston

“There is no excuse for ‘Why Girls Leave Home,’ a disgraceful little PRC offering that came to the Gotham yesterday. In attempting to pass it off as anti-juvenile delinquency propaganda, the producers are making monkeys out of the Hays office, which would have you believe that a United States Army documentary is unfit for public showing because of the use of words like hell and damn, while it condones a crime teaser such as this simply on the grounds that, if the killer gets his in the end, ‘God’s in his Heaven and all’s right with the world.’ The picture is nothing more or less than a gangster film, glorifying the glamour and excitement of a non-existent world that supposedly tempts all good little girls to leave home after they have had a misunderstanding with their parents. In this case, the girl goes to a night club, becomes over night the star singer in the place, learns too much about her employers, is almost murdered, is finally rescued  by the hero after a thrilling chase and lives happily ever after. The guns are bright and shiny, the dice are loaded, the apartments are all on Park Avenue, the girls are beautiful, the crooks squeal and refuse to take raps, the police are bungling  amateurs and the handsome reporter solves the crime and gets the girl. It could only happen in a cheap motion picture that does lip service to morality, but is itself, ironically, one of the real reasons why girls leave home. Yet, when they do, they rarely wind up in the shimmering gowns, under the dazzling lights or in the glittering night clubs. Most of the time they step into a world of hard work, cold-water walk-ups, subways, unappetizing restaurants, corner saloons and, of course, cheap movies.” (New York Herald Tribune, August 4, 1945)

“In this crime drama a young woman leaves her unhappy life at home to become a sophisticated night club singer.  Her first job is nearly fatal when she entangles herself with the mobsters who own the joint and learns too much about their operation.  Her boss decides to kill her and make it look like suicide.  An intrepid reporter disbelieves the report and exposes the truth to the public.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Diana Leslie is rescued from drowning by reporter Chris Williams. The latter believes it is an attempted murder rather than the suicide indicated by a note, since the girl had made an appointment to meet him at the dock. The story is told in flashback as Williams visits the people who know Diana. The parents feel responsible as, against their wishes, Diana had accompanied musician Jimmie Lobo to the Kitten Club and had gotten a job as a singer but they had not seen her following an argument when she came home that ended with her being slapped by her brother Ted. One of the Kitten Club showgirls, Flo tells Chris that when Diane came to the club for an audition, she incurred the wrath of the heavy-drinking featured singer Marianne Mason and club owner Steve Raymond delegated her to the hostess ranks of girls whose job was to steer customers to the illegal gambling. This led to a couple of suckers, Wilbur Harris and Ed Blake, losing heavily in the crooked game with Harris committing suicide and Blake being killed in the the ensuing mêlée. “ Internet Movie Database

WIFE OF MONTE CRISTO, THE  (1946)

C. 18 June 1946  Pathe Industries, Inc.  LP387
B&W  80 Mins.  GC 
   
Director:                                Elmer G. Ulmer
Writer:                                   Dorcas Cochran
Producer:                               Leon Fromkess
Cinematog.:                           Edward Kull
Art Director:                          Edward C. Jewell
Music Dir.:                             Paul Dessau
Editor:                                    Douglas W. Bagler
Set Decor.:                              Glenn Thompson
Story:                                       character created by Alexandre Dumas; story “Thanks, God, I’ll Take 
                                                 It From Here” written by Edgar Ulmer and Francis Rosenwald
Cast:                                        Eva Gabor, John Loder, Lenore Aubert, Fritz Kortner, Charles Dingle,
Eduardo Ciannelli, Martin Kosleck, John Bleifer, Egon Brecher, Colin
Campbell, Clancy Cooper, Fritz Feld, Fritz Kortner, Anthony Warde,
Crane Whitely

“….If, in 1832, the Count’s wounds still smart, it is because his old enemies are still around and he still hates injustice.  And, if the Count’s lady gives him more than a measure of help, it is only because she too hates injustice and, besides, is as handy with a rapier as she is with repartee. But the action, heckled as it often is by badinage, is plentiful, and those rascals who have been mulcting the plague-ridden Parisians finally do get their just desserts. As ‘The Avenger’ for the down-trodden populace, the Count is pinked by the Prefects police and the Countess forsakes the salon for the leadership of her husband’s secret band, and after a prescribed number of clashes with the Gendarmerie and chases by moonlight, the bad men are liquidated, leaving the noble couple to ride into the sunset.  Lenore Aubert is beautiful as the Countess but rather colorless as a conspiring and athletic heroine, while Martin Kosleck makes a determined but unconvincing champion of the people. John Loder plays the iniquitous Prefect with sinister grace…” (The New York Times, April 8, 1946)

“Alexandre Dumas’ famous fictional count gets revenge in this lively sequel to the original story.  The Monte Cristo count begins by returning to Paris under an assumed name.  There he helps the beleaguered poor who must suffered from the early 19th-century revolution.  The cloaked count soon finds himself pursued by a cruel policeman.  The count’s brave wife throws the cop off her husband’s scent by dressing up as the masked avenger herself and proves that she too is most competent with a sword.  Swashbuckling mayhem ensues.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“Edmund Dantes, The Count of Monte Cristo, rides again in 1832, this time accompanied by (or stood in for) his countess wife, Haydee. He is out for vengeance (using a mask and working as “The Avenger”) against those who responsible for his imprisonment in the Chateau DIf, and justice for the people of Paris who are being mistreated by the crooked Prefect of Police and his henchmen associates, which leads Dantes engaging if a skirmish with the Gendarmerie, that leaves him incapacitated for a while, and Haydee takes his place as “The Avenger.”  Internet Movie Database

WINTER WONDERLAND  (1947)

C. 17 March 1947  Republic Pictures Corp.  LP904
B&W  74 Mins.  GC 
   
Director:                          Bernard Vorhaus
Writers:                            David S. Chandler, Arthur Marx, Gertrude Purcell
Producer:                         Walter Colmes
Cinematog.:                     John Alton
Music Dir.:                       Cy Feuer
Composer:                        Paul Dessau
Editor:                               Robert Jahns
Set Decor.:                        Glenn Thompson
Story:                                 Fred Schiller
Cast:                                  Charles Drake, Eric Blore, Lynne Roberts [Mary Hart], Eleanor
Donahue, Roman Bohnen, Renee Godfrey, Alvin Hammer, Diana
Mumby, Renie Riano, Harry Tyler, Janet Warren

“… a charming variation of the Cinderella yarn” that “is almost wholly outdoor stuff. But the dazzling white backgrounds are never permitted to get monotonous. When the farmer’s daughter and the ski instructor from the big lodge aren’t developing their romance, the lodge owner is putting on skating exhibitions and ski events. A ski ballet is a distinct novelty and a ski race,  proceeds of which are hoped to get the heroine out of a jam, is pulse quickening stuff. John Alton’s camera  work here is striking. Results are in the best manner of the chase…. There are no villains. Even in the big race it’s the hero and heroine who compete with each other, and the windup of that is a cinch.”  (Variety,  May 28, 1947)

“In this romantic skiing adventure, a farm girl falls in love with a ski instructor at a wonderful winter resort.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

WOMAN WHO CAME BACK, THE  (1945)

C. 28 Nov. 1945  Republic Pictures Corp.  LP13677
B&W  69 Mins.  GC   
  
Director:                            Walter Colmes
Writer:                               Dennis Cooper
Producer:                          Walter Colmes
Cinematog.:                      Henry Sharp
Music Dir.:                        Walter Scharf
Composer:                         Edward Plumb
Editor:                               John Link
Set Decor.:                         Jacques Mapes
Idea:                                   Philip Yordan
Story:                                 John Kafka
Cast:                                   Nancy Kelly, John Loder, Otto Kruger, Ruth Ford, Harry Tyler, Jeanne
Gail, John Farrell MacDonald, Almira Sessions, Emmett Vogan

“Lorna Webster (Nancy Kelly) on returning to her ancestral home in a New England village, believes she has been bewitched–A curse put upon her by a practitioner in the art of sorcery who was burned at the stake 300 years ago by her clerical ancestor.  Events seem to bear out Lorna’s grim theory.  The baby niece of Dr. Matt Adams (John Loder) with whom Lorna is in love, mysteriously falls ill after Lorna has an altercation with the baby’s mother… The mother herself, in flight from a phantom dog, almost commits suicide and the same frightening canine haunts the home of Lorna nearly driving her to insanity. Dr. Adams, aided by the Reverend Stevens (Otto Kruger) tries to solve the mystery but the townspeople, convinced that Lorna is a witch, start a whispering campaign which threatens bodily harm to the girl. Finally, in desperation, Lorna discovers old documents in the crypt of the village church where her ancestor preached.  These documents prevent the townspeople from slaying Lorna and explain the entire puzzling circumstances.” (publicity release)

“This thriller is set in New England and follows the exploits of a young woman who believes that she has been cursed by an evil sorceress.  She goes back to her familial estate in a small town.  The townsfolk also believe that she is cursed as her ancestors before her were cursed three centuries ago.  They treat her terribly as she investigates.  In the end, they nearly drive her to suicide.” Corel All Movie Guide 2

“An old woman flags down a bus in woods near Eden Rock, Massachusetts. She sits next to Lorna Webster, who’s coming home after being away two years. The old woman calls Lorna by name, prattles on about events in the village 300 years ago when women were burned at the stake for witchcraft at trials convened by Lorna’s ancestor, and the bus veers off the road into a lake. Only Lorna survives; the woman is missing. In town, Lorna’s former fiancé, Matt Adams, is the only person glad to see her. Strange things begin to happen, and Lorna and many villagers begin to think she’s possessed. Is she? Will fears drive Lorna mad and the town to a frenzy? Is an old prophecy about to be fulfilled?” Internet Movie Database