7 October 2001 | Ron Oliver
Enjoyable Movieland Murder Mystery
A studio stooge & the publicity girl who loves him become FUGITIVES FOR A NIGHT after he's accused of murdering an unpopular movie producer.
One of the most interesting aspects of this minor mystery is the decidedly negative view it takes of the film business. Filmed at RKO (here called Apollo Studios), Dalton Trumbo's screenplay portrays the entire organization to be populated by thoroughly unpleasant people. This probably explains the absence of cameo appearances by any big stars.
The behind-the-scenes glimpses at the studio are very interesting, but the real reason to enjoy the film now is the energetic performance of Frank Albertson, as the resourceful, fast-talking stooge. Here is an actor who showed all the talent & charm early in the 1930's to have taken him straight to major stardom, but the breaks didn't fall his way. He continued working into the 1960's top-billing in B films or giving hardy support in secondary roles. He is best remembered as Jimmy Stewart's rich buddy Sam Wainwright in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946).
The rest of the cast also does well with their roles: Eleanor Lynn as the perky publicity gal; Allan Lane & Adrienne Ames as conceited stars; Bradley Page as an older actor on the way down; Russell Hicks as the unfortunate producer; Paul Guilfoyle as an obnoxious gossip; and Jonathan Hale as the police captain. Movie mavens will recognize Ward Bond as a drunken gambler & Johnny Arthur as a suspicious service station owner.