1 December 2014 | secondtake
Full of twists and impossibilities...a mild noir for the desperate
Murder is My Beat (1955)
Director Edgar Ulmer is the one reason you might think of seeing this movie, a creaky story told fairly well. But really there's nothing redeeming about it all. The acting is fine, the filming routine, and the plot so unbelievable you just wonder how they heck they thought it was worth it in the first place.
Well, that's unfair, because it probably looks good on paper. It's the story of a murder squad detective who gets a late call and starts to investigate. This leads to a crazy but fun tromp from L.A. to the mountains in a snowstorm, where he meets the apparent perp and falls in love with her. So now all the rules of being a cop are out the window, and that's the part you have to accept (even when he gets his boss to throw his rules out the window later in the movie).
There probably was an attempt to look at the psychology of a really good cop who suddenly has doubts about himself (because he thinks he made the huge mistake assuming the girl was guilty). There are people with false identities, a cheesy ceramics factory, and a couple more murders. It adds up to some campy fun, but even as a barrel of laughs it doesn't quite hold up, getting slow at times, or becoming just successful enough to draw you in.
Ulmer is famous for making a lot out of a little—or so he did with the early "The Black Cat" back in 1934 or the legendary "Detour" in 1945. There are too many story problems for him to make this one fly, however, so give this a pass unless you're really a fan of Ulmer, or of the waning years of film noir.