12 January 2012 | bkoganbing
Wedded to an idea
Murder With Pictures finds Lew Ayres and Paul Kelly as a pair of breezy reporters who are tracking the same story, namely the acquittal of murder by gangster Onslow Stevens. It seems as though a key witness Gail Patrick is located and arrives too late to testify. Stevens is giving a bash and he invites the press to the party.
Where his high priced defense attorney Ernest Cossart is shot to death after apparently recognizing someone in the room. Suspicion falls on Patrick, but Ayres shields her and starts his own investigation with Kelly dogging his every move. A couple of murders later and it's all solved.
Ayres gives a nice account of himself in a film which if done at Warner Brothers would have starred James Cagney with Kelly in the Pat O'Brien part. The how is not terribly original, this particular murder gambit was used before and after still it is done with style. As for the motives, Murder With Pictures is a story of greed and revenge.
One cliché seems to be present a lot in these kind of films. The cops are always wrong and the hero always sorts it out. I've seen it in God knows how many films, but in real life I've seen it to be true. Not that the police are dumb, but what people have a problem being is flexible. More than cops will get wedded to a certain notion and then just won't change no matter how the facts are explained to them. In solving cases that's a natural barrier. In my former job with New York State Crime Victims Board I've seen it happen more than once.
It was also nice to see Gail Patrick for once not playing the second lead or the other woman. Murder With Pictures is a nice, fast moving and entertaining film and it's a pity it seems to have dropped into obscurity. The fact that it also has dropped into the public domain may gain it new viewers and fans who've not seen it as of yet.