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  • Penny Edwards is on her honeymoon when her husband is killed by a carjacking ring. She can't identify anyone in the police files, but some discussion of the sorts of gangs that steal autos triggers something. She walks out of the police station, changes her clothes and hair, and goes underground looking for the men who murdered her husband. Meanwhile, the Missing Person squad is looking for her.

    It's a decent way into this lone-women-against-the-crooks plot, and Miss Edwards offers a nice performance, changing her register as she changes her haircolor. There's the usual competent cast and crew that Republic had available to it when they weren't doing Vera Hruba Ralston movies: Fritz Feld, Robert Shayne and Phillip Van Zandt are a few of the names old movie buffs will recognize; and while Philip Ford may be better remembered for being John Ford's nephew and the AD on almost three dozen movies, his direction here is, as was common with Republic's better output, brisk and competent.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    MISSING WOMEN 1951

    This is another of the seemingly endless supply of programmers produced by Republic Pictures. This B-noir stars, Penny Edwards, James Millican, John Alvin, John Gallaudet, Robert Shayne, Marlo Dwyer and William Forest.

    Newlyweds Penny Edwards and John Hedloe are parked on the side of the road swapping spit when approached by a couple of car thieves. The pair, James Millican and John Ennis, want the newlywed's car. Hedloe puts up a bit of an argument when Millican starts pawing Miss Edwards. This gets him a slug in the gut. Hedloe is dumped in the bushes and Edwards is about to get the same treatment when a passing Police prowler stops.

    Millican shoves a gun in Edwards' side and says, "Smile and play nice for the cops". The Police see the "Just Married" sign and tells them to move on. The other carjacker, Ennis is hiding a bit further up the road with his own car. The Police fail to spot him. Millican forces Edwards to drive him up the road a piece.

    He then grabs a quick feel and a kiss before knocking her out. He then hotfoots it away to hook up with Ennis. They feel it is a bit risky to take Edwards' car with the cops in the area. A passing motorist finds Miss Edwards and contacts the Police. A revived Edwards leads them to her now dead hubby.

    Several days later, Edwards is being interviewed by Police detective John Gallaudet. He wanted details on the suspects and asks if there had been a woman involved. It seems that there are several groups of carjacker types who use a woman as a driver. The detective shows Edwards the history of one of the women, Marlo Dwyer. Dwyer is doing a year bit in the pen at the moment.

    The detective steps out of the room to grab some more mug books and the like to show Edwards. Edwards reads the detail on Dwyer and has an idea. She takes off before Detective Gallaudet returns. Edwards buys some new duds and hits a beauty salon for blond dye job.

    Edwards then uses details gleamed from Marlo Dwyer's files to get cozy with people involved in the car theft business. In no time straight she in knee deep with the racket types. Of course she soon runs into Ennis and Millican. With the new dye job, the low-life types fail to recognize Edwards.

    Edwards lets the Police in on the set up. Detectives Gallaudet and James Brown are soon shadowing Edwards to keep her safe while she digs up more info on the racket. She is soon introduced to the boss of the operation, Robert Shayne. Of course the mandatory fly in the ointment now shows. Marlo Dwyer, the woman Edwards had used to fake her creds is released from prison.

    Matters go south in a hurry and Miss Edwards is soon knocked on the head and dumped in the trunk of a car. She is up for a trip to the woods and a final resting spot in a deep hole. It is only the timely arrival of Detectives Gallaudet and Brown that saves the day. There is a brisk exchange of lead with several of the mob types expiring from severe blood loss. The dead include boss Shayne and hubby killer, James Millican.

    The director of this brisk paced B-noir is Philip Ford. Ford was the nephew of the famous director, John Ford. While Philip never made it out of B-film fare, he did knock out a few decent low end crime and noir features. These include, THE INNER CIRCLE - 1946, THE LAST CROOKED MILE -1946, HIDEOUT -1949 and the excellent, THE TIGER WOMAN - 1945.

    The director of Photography was another Republic staple, John MacBurnie. MacBurnie started out on serials like, RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON, CAPTAIN America, JESSE JAMES RIDES AGAIN and THE BLACK WIDOW. He then moved on to B-westerns and low rent crime and film noir. The noir include, SECRET SERVICE INVESTIGATOR, HIDEOUT, THE RED MEANCE, FEDERAL AGENT AT LARGE, POST OFFICE INVESTIGATOR, MISSING WOMEN and INSURANCE INVESTIGATOR. Several of these like, HIDEOUT, POST OFFICE INVESTIGATOR and INSURANCE INVESTIGATOR are quite nifty low renters.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This isn't "The Big Combo" or "Detour", but for a Republic Pictures 60 minute movie it's actually quite good. Yes the Driving scenes are poorly done, but other than that ,the camera work and lighting is good. The director also made sure that the camera caught a full and descriptive background with each shot. The backgrounds are filled with a supporting cast whom seem right at place in their roles, seamlessly transitioning the story from scene to scene. This was a thoughtful moderately budgeted film that when viewing looks like an expensive one....except for the car scenes, The basic story line is carried by a competent cast and there is not a bad performance in the film. The film's storyline is not a new premise, but it's done with enough variables to make it interesting., the basic story is about a newlywed who goes out for revenge on the car thieves that killed her beau. She changes her identity, and goes to a baseball game where they serve beer in paper coffee cups.Don't over think it, just go along for the ride and by the end you'll have found that the movie delivered a rich textural viewing, the best part is that there are no cheap sets and each shot location is carefully chosen, it's all together a pretty cool movie..... except for the driving scenes.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The great thing about the B studios is how they took what was essentially enough plot for an hour long TV crime drama and turned it into something artistic and mesmerizing. Poor Penny Edwards suffers greatly on the eve of her marriage when a road gang robs them and leaves her husband for dead on the street. Vowing to find the killers, she disguises herself and goes undercover within the mob itself to trap the guilty party and avenge her dead husband. This causes her parents to file a missing person's report, and after locating her, detectives John Gallaudet and James Brown warn her to leave the investigating to the police, a piece of advice she proudly ignores. But not knowing the in's and out's of the missing person's bureau, she is unaware that with her picture plastered all over, the gang of murderers and thieves is about to realize who she is, and this leads to a car garage confrontation that is intensely staged and vigorously paced.

    Some great character performances aide this B film noir greatly, particularly Fritz Feld as the fey beauty shop owner who notifies the police of a package left behind of one of their missing persons, and Marlo Dwyer as a recently released ex-con whom Edwards encounters after having earlier claimed to have served time with in prison. James Millican and John Alvin play the two gang members who viciously attacked Edwards and her husband and are deliciously sinister. This is one of the better made low budget crime thrillers, filled with surprises around every corner and featuring some fabulous photography and editing. Edwards who was a leading B actress at Republic in the early 1950's, deserved a better screen career than the string of B westerns she appeared in, being suited for a variety of parts. Her heroine is a femme fatale with a twist, making her character quite interesting.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A standard Republic thriller. Short one: 61mn, fast paced programmer, with no extra length, and a topic we have seen a thousand times before.

    A young woman sees her husband killed by car thieves and decides to avenge him by collaborating with the police. With predictable results.

    Penny Edwards is the usual actress for those flicks. I've already seen her in lots of B movies from this era and produced by Republic studios.

    Philip Ford, the director, has the same gift as the others of the Republic such as George Blair, early RG Springsteen, Harry Keller, Tommy Carr or Lesley Selander. Directors who essentially made B westerns, and perfectly got everything under control.

    What can we expect more from this kind of features?