Take One False Step (1949)

Approved   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Take One False Step (1949) Poster

During a conference-trip to L.A., an academic runs into an old-flame and into trouble with the police when she disappears, presumed murdered.


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12 September 2019 | blanche-2
| William Powell is in a heap of trouble
Professor Andrew Gentling (William Powell) comes to Los Angeles to work on the formation of a new college. In the bar of his hotel, he runs into his old girlfriend Catherine (Shelley Winters) who throws herself at him. They apparently had a wartime fling.

However, both are married now. Catherine is miserable. Andrew is very happy and, in fact, has invited his wife to LA to join him there.

Catherine calls Andrew and tells her that their friend Martha (Marsha Hunt) is having a party and would love to see him. When he gets there, he finds a drunk Catherine and a very sober Martha.

Catherine finagles a drive with him, during which he stops short and she hits her head. Andrew gives her his scarf. He takes her home, but she refuses to leave the car. He leaves instead. When he returns, he sees Catherine on her way home.

The next day while at a meeting, Andrew sees the lurid headline that Catherine is missing. The police have her bloody scarf. He meets Martha, who tells him that Catherine had a diary, and that, along with the scarf, means they are going to have to act quickly to keep him out of trouble. He wants to go to the police, but she won't hear of it.

One problem - when Martha sends Andrew to Catherine's house to look for her diary, she somehow neglects to mention a really vicious dog. You'd think she would have told him. It turns out to be a huge problem. The dog was rabid and bit him.

The scene with Dr. Markham where he goes into the symptoms of rabies with Andrew, who thinks he has it, is hilarious.

Powell brings his usual elegance to the role. At 58. he was perhaps a little old for all the physical activity - being chased by a dog, car crashes, and fights. Winters is slim and lovely, this being her starlet days, but she has a spark that hints she will be up for better, more character-type roles.

As of this writing, one actor in this 70-year-old film is still alive - Marsha Hunt. She's very good, as she always is.

Other than everyone acting as if Los Angeles and San Francisco were a couple of miles apart, the film was okay. Hardly the horror people described, but not great.

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Crime | Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery | Thriller

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