As someone else mentioned this police procedural is done "Columbo style". In other words, you see the murder committed up front at the very beginning of the film and see how the murderer covers his tracks and even who he frames. The interesting part is seeing how Detective Capt. T.R. McKinley (Victor McLaglen) and reporter Russell Kirk (Edmund Lowe) solve the case. McLaglen and Lowe did a series of buddy pictures in the early 30's first at Fox and then at Paramount. This is one of the Paramount entries. As usual, the two claim to be friends but never cease to antagonize each other. In this case, reporter Kirk feels like he has the right to waltz into McKinley's office and interfere in his cases any time he feels like it because his stories got McKinley noticed and therefore promoted. During the first half of the film you'll most likely wish the murderer had strangled Kirk too, because he behaves in a most despicable manner - he's just a hardboiled unlikable guy. For example, at the crime scene he is standing over the corpse, smoking, sprinkling his cigarette ashes on her, and discussing how he doesn't care for the way the dead woman is dressed - he prefers women in nightgowns to women in pajamas. The Ick Factor is incredible. He later shows a softer side after he falls for the sister of the man who is framed for the murder.
Claire Dodd shows up as the murder victim in about five seconds of screen time. If you watch many precodes, in this film you finally get to see what you've probably wanted to see in any of those films in which she usually plays a femme fatale with no conscience - someone strangling the life out of her. Highly recommended for both fans of precode cinema and good old crime films.
8 out of 8 found this helpful