The Fat Man (1951)

Passed   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

The Fat Man (1951) Poster

A dentist's murder is investigated by hefty sleuth Brad Runyan.


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28 September 2015 | MartinHafer
| Aside from a couple interesting appearances, a pretty standard B detective film...with most of the usual clichés.
"The Fat Man" was a radio program that was eventually brought to the big screen. However, only two movies were made--this first one starring J. Scott Smart and another made at the end of the decade by another actor. Apparently, the radio success couldn't be translated to the silver screen.

When the show begins, Jane Adams (Jayne Meadows) approached Brad Runyan ('the Fat Man') and begged him to look into the death of her boss, a dentist. The death was ruled an accident or a suicide but she knows it was murder. The trail then leads to a guy named Roy (Rock Hudson) as well as a clown and along the way, other folks meet the same fate as the dentist.

The biggest reason to see the film is to see a couple actors before they were stars--Rock Hudson and Jayne Meadows. Julie London, Emmett Kelly (not surprisingly, as a clown) and John Russell also appear in the film--giving it a few more quality actors than you'd expect in such a movie. Aside from that, it was a decent enough mystery but also one that had some stupid clichés. The worst was when Jane called Runyan and said "I need to see you right away...I know who killed Dr. Bromley"....and you KNOW what's going to happen to her very, very soon!! Why didn't she just tell Runyon OVER THE PHONE who the killer was?!?! Duh!! It also was rather low energy and not exactly exciting compared to other films in the genre. Worth seeing if you love these detective films, otherwise very skippable.

By the way, the film like MANY Bs was directed by William Castle-- before he became inextricably associated with horror films.

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