12 January 2009 | bkoganbing
From Editor To Sob Sister
Had this B film remake of Hi Nellie been done during the Thirties before the war my guess is that Warner Brothers probably would have included a lot more action. Other than James Mitchell roughing up Wayne Morris a bit there's no real action in this film, not even the sound of a gun firing. Unusual when you consider the villain is a gangster.]
The House Across The Street had more of an accent on comedy with Wayne Morris being demoted to the advice to the lovelorn column after refusing to back off an expose of gangster Bruce Bennett. It's not that publisher Alan Hale isn't in his corner, but Morris hasn't got any proof and Bennett is doing the ungangster like thing of suing for libel.
But curiously enough a woman who had not had her letter to the column answered, Lila Leeds came up and gives Morris the lowdown on her problem with boyfriend James Holden. She inadvertently provides a clue that starts Morris on the trail of linking Bennett to the murder of a state's witness.
Morris gets plenty of help, good help from the former sob sister at the paper, Janis Paige. She's got good reporter's instincts and was never really given a chance to prove them while Morris was the city editor. Now she's helping, but giving Wayne a few jabs in the process.
The House Across The Street is a nice competently made B film that I'm sure 1949 audiences enjoyed while waiting for the main feature from Warner Brothers to start. It's fast and funny and a real treat.