17 August 2003 | django-1
nice serio-comic murder mystery, good supporting cast
Nice change-of-pace here--a solid 1940s "B" murder mystery, but played in a witty manner with comic relief. Overall, though, it's still more of a drama than a comedy. This was Martha O'Driscoll's first film after the legendary HOUSE OF DRACULA and was made the same year as Tom Neal's legendary DETOUR. Ms. O'Driscoll plays a lady who had been engaged to a doctor but dropped him when she found he was insincere. The doctor is found dead. Tom Neal plays a basically honest adverturer who has been in trouble in the past and is an obvious suspect here--at least the police think so. The fine supporting cast also includes Samuel S. Hinds, a regular at Universal in the 1940s, as a professor with a secret; Robert Armstrong as an over-worked policeman; Elisha Cook Jr. as a quirky cab driver; even Marc Lawrence in a small role. The playful comedic segments don't get in the way of the mystery--anymore than they do in a Mantan Moreland-era Chan film--and judged as a mystery, it's a modest success worth 62 minutes of your time. The Universal B-movie "machine" was in high gear at this time, and it could churn out a quality product with regularity...and the product is still entertaining and watchable today.