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  • I recently saw this at the 2008 Palm Springs Film Noir Festival. Actor Richard Carlson is behind the camera as director for this film from the later part of the Film Noir genre. Paul Baxter (George Nader) is a former newspaper reporter who is washed up and unhireable at only 30 years old because he's an alcoholic. Penny Spencer (Joanna Cook Moore) is his soon to be former girlfriend who is giving him one last chance. She wants him to go on the wagon for one day and has arranged with her police detective brother Lt. Spencer (Brian Keith) for Paul to observe a stakeout and apprehension of the city's most wanted criminal. She's in the newspaper business herself and has put together a file on the criminal Dutch Hayden (Frank DeKova) for Paul to study up on so he can write a story of the arrest and scoop all the crime reporters which will lead to him getting a full-time newspaper job and he'll stop drinking and Paul and Penny will then be able to live happily ever after if only he can stop drinking for one day and write the story. I'm sure most people who have dealt with alcoholism and those who treat it would have a hard time buying into this 24 hour self curing treatment but the film does deal with the destructiveness of alcoholism. Paul is faced with a series of temptations throughout the film as he struggles to stay off the hooch. Virgina Field is in the cast as burlesque dancer Florence Knapp, the moll of Dutch Hayden. Alec Coppel and Norman Jolley write the screenplay based on an Argosy Magazine story by Hugh Penecost. Three time Oscar nominee William E. Snyder is the film's cinematographer. The story is highly implausible and simplistic but isn't too bad and it's a relatively short film at 73 minutes and I would give it a 6.0 out of 10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Perhaps if this had been written with more detail rather than rushed out as a cheap little B, this could have been so much better. Most of the detail missing concerns disgraced drunken reporter George Nader who is the alcoholic whose girlfriend Joanna Moore and cop brother Brian Keith believe is crying wolf. When first seen, Nader is being removed from the drunk tank by Keith, and Moore seems ready to let him go. She's trying to get him back on his feet and on the job, giving him material on gangster Frank DeCova which would blow local mob activity right out of the city sewers.

    For part of the beginning of the film, the audience spends time watching Nader try desperately to avoid drinking, and eventually, he's going through withdrawals which makes him seem even drunker. But an encounter with DeKova's floozy moll Virginia Field and later DeKova himself (believed to be dead in a bizarre twist) threatens Nader both soberly and physically, and this leads to an unbelievable conclusion that really defies any logic about people under the influence of alcohol or trying to get off the stuff.

    Had there been five minutes of exposition before Nader was released from the drunk tank and a little bit more detail concerning how he sobered up enough to do what he does, this might have been a bit more believable if not entirely conclusive. He is very convincing though as a man going through the shakes and desperate not to touch any alcohol, and that raises my score for this film's rating. There could have also been more intense dealings with the crime elements, and this could have been as gripping as Murder My Sweet which came out over a decade before this. As a result, this is just a easily forgettable little noir programmer, just a tad too violent for 50's television but yet small screen stuff none the less.
  • An alcoholic, out of work newspaper reporter is given another chance in "Appointment with a Shadow," from 1957, starring George Nader, Joanna Moore, Brian Keith, and Virginia Field.

    Nader plays Paul Baxter, whose girlfriend Penny (Moore) is a reporter as well. After he is dropped off at her place by her brother, Lt. Spencer (Keith) and sobered up, she tells him she has the inside scoop on a story. It's his if he can stay sober for the entire day.

    Penny's brother is a police detective and has agreed to allow Paul in on the arrest of a wanted criminal (Frank DeKova). He will then scoop all the crime reporters and get a newspaper job. Her brother thinks she's crazy and doesn't think she should bother with Paul, but she insists that she loves him and can't give up on him.

    Paul manages to stay sober for the day. Penny calls him with the information about the stakeout and arrest. Unfortunately, once Paul gets to the scene, something goes terribly wrong. He's the only one who knows how wrong it went, and no one will believe him.

    While the film deals realistically with an alcoholic's struggle to refrain from taking a drink, it doesn't really deal realistically with the illness. Still, it's an involving story, if a little too pat, directed by actor Richard Carlson.

    George Nader was an attractive man who had a decent career in television and later did films in Europe. He never reached stardom in the U..S. because Universal outed him to Confidential magazine so the publication wouldn't out Rock Hudson. He was a good type for noir and detective stories - he played Ellery Queen on television as well as two other TV series.