16 May 2017 | utgard14
"You must think I'm stupid."
The penultimate entry in Columbia's Whistler series and the last to star Richard Dix. This final Dix Whistler movie isn't one of the best but it's still worth a look. The story is fairly straightforward with Dix playing more of a typical protagonist than in other entries where he played more morally ambiguous characters. This time he's a truck driver out to clear his name when he's framed for killing a policeman.
Karen Morley is good as Dix's girlfriend. Regis Toomey plays a small but important part as the cop Dix is accused of killing. Mark Dennis is unintentionally funny as Morley's son, who reads books on necrophobia and warns cops "That's mama's and my bedroom. We don't like anybody going in there." John Kellogg, Jim Bannon, and Bernadene Hayes round out the significant roles in the cast. For his part, Dix is solid as usual.
As I said, this is the last Whistler movie that Dix made, but it's also his last film period. He retired after this and died two years later. With a career stretching back over twenty years into the silents, he's probably best remembered for his Oscar-nominated role in Cimarron or for playing the crazy captain in Val Lewton's The Ghost Ship. Lantern-jawed with a somewhat stiff line delivery, Dix may not have challenged Gable or Grant or Flynn in charisma or sex appeal but he had an interesting screen presence all his own. He certainly made his mark in the films I mentioned, as well as many others including this fine series based off the popular radio series The Whistler. His last film may not have been an example of "going out on top," but it was definitely nothing to be embarrassed about. Which is, unfortunately, more than you can say for some of his contemporaries' final films.