27 April 2008 | robert-temple-1
Sturdy and convincing B picture about undercover work of a policewoman
This was only the second film directed by Joseph Pevney, and although it was made on the same old B picture shoe string which made the rounds of the footwear of every B producer, it is good sturdy stuff. Alexis Smith does an excellent job of portraying the lead character, revealing several different sides to the character with equal conviction. She can be soft, she can be tough, she can be nondescript, she can be glamorous. So she is very chameleon-like, and it works. Her two love interests are Scott Brady and Richard Egan, both convincing. The film is strengthened by the brief but reassuring presence of Connie Gilchrist as Sadie, who may have a small part but she adds fibre to the diet. Gerald Mohr is there, a smoothie psycho gangster, just the sort of guy we don't want to meet. And this film marked the film debut of the extraordinary character actor Royal Dano. He plays a loser 'groupie' to some gangsters, and of course after playing with fire gets seriously burned. We really worry about him as he whines his way from crisis to crisis. He has that lean, tormented look of a starving hound dog, and wears a wonderful garish tie with a naked girl on it, which he hopes makes him look tough. Edmon Ryan is interesting as a crooked doctor wracked with remorse, oscillating between killing people and wanting to be a good dad and renew his Hippocratic oath. The film is surprisingly robust, and it holds one's attention well. Will the undercover girl get the guys who killed her pa? Or will they get her first? This is a surprisingly early film about drug-dealers. Any undercover cop seeing it must get the shivers when he hears the line, delivered ominously: 'Nobody in Chicago knows you.' Watch out! Your alibi is unravelling! Yes, it has its nervous moments. Undercover work is best watched on the screen, far preferable to undertaking it in real life, dontchathink?