2 December 2008 | hondo551
Should have been better, but missing something.
This one rings true as a good Rex Stout (Nero Wolfe) sort of period mystery with the interesting twist of the PIs being gals rather than guys. Probably done as a Crystal Bernard vehicle early in her Wings popularity, it goes out of its way to try to bring 1943 southern California alive and show the home front horrors of WWII as the murders are being solved. Bernard is more than adequate in her role as a soft boiled PI, as is most of the cast, but the one weak showing is her partner in investigations Annabeth Gish. One wonders just what her character adds to the detective agency, Bernard seems to do all the work. Gish has done much better stuff since, as in The X-Files, but here falls flat and leaves all the work for Bernard. The one performance that sizzles is Barbara Luna as a local madame. She evokes the memory of Rita Hayworth in looks and dress and expressions, has never looked better, and steals the few scenes she's in. I was hoping for something along the lines of the excellent A&E Nero Wolfe series, it certainly has the period look down well, but it never rises above your typical movie of the week quality. Blame it on some underdeveloped characters, maybe Bernard being too cute for a PI role, but there seems to be something missing that could have taken it from being a pleasant 95 minute diversion to something far better and noteworthy.