20 February 2018 | JamesHitchcock
A gang of criminals are hijacking lorries belonging to a Canadian fur company, stealing their cargoes and then selling the stolen furs on the black market after smuggling them across the border into the USA (hence the film's alternative title of "Across the Border". An American Special Inspector is sent north to assist the Canadian police.
"Special Inspector" was a Canadian/American co-production, produced mainly for the British market. Because Canada was part of the British Commonwealth, films made there (even by American studios, in this case Columbia Pictures) counted as "British" for the purposes of the "Quota System"; at this period British cinemas were obliged to screen a certain percentage of British films. Like many "quota quickies" it was officially a B-movie, but in terms of its length (only just over an hour) and quality (lousy) it seems more like a C-movie.
It would doubtless have long since been forgotten were it not for the fact that its female lead was a then little-known actress called Rita Hayworth. (This was the second of two films she made in Canada for Columbia). Unfortunately, it has little to recommend it to anyone except obsessive Hayworth completists. 65 minutes is just too short a time in which to deal with the plot adequately. There is no character development and, for what is ostensibly a crime thriller, remarkably little tension or suspense. What in longer films would have been important strands in the plot are dealt with only in passing. For example, we learn that Hayworth's character, Patricia, is helping the police track down the villains because they were responsible for the death of her brother, but this theme, to which some films would have devoted a couple of entire scenes, is mentioned only in passing in a couple of lines. Similarly, the growing romance between Patricia and Charles Quigley's Inspector is dealt with very perfunctorily, only becoming clear at the very end of the film.
"Special Inspector" still occasionally turns up on British television, generally as part of a Hayward season, but I would not recommend it to anyone unless they were already an obsessive fan of the lovely Rita. 3/10