1934's "Girl in Danger" marked the finale of Columbia's forgotten series starring Ralph Bellamy as Police Inspector Steve Trent, granted such a promising start the year before with "Before Midnight," then "One is Guilty" and "The Crime of Helen Stanley." Those familiar with Bellamy's later portrayal of Ellery Queen may be surprised to find his Trent a no nonsense investigator, this last of the quartet sadly inferior to its entertaining predecessors. Back from previous entries are leading lady Shirley Grey (third straight), J. Carrol Naish, Ward Bond (second straight), and future Warners director Vincent Sherman (third straight). Shirley's 'girl in danger' is Gloria Gale, whose adventurous fling with gangster Daniel S. Terrence (Charles Sabin) makes her his accomplice in the theft of the valuable Cortez emerald, also coveted by mob boss Mike Russo (J. Carrol Naish). Inspector Steve Trent at first tries to gain Gloria's confidence by posing as Terrence's confederate, but she winds up with one of Russo's henchmen, Wynkoski (Ward Bond), the trigger man who murders Terrence at a nightclub. All the villains are a weak bunch, easily susceptible to Trent's strongarm tactics, the script slapdash and formulaic in the extreme. One gets the feeling while watching that the studio knew this would be the series' last gasp, therefore putting little effort into situations or characterization; at 57 minutes, it's just as brief as number 3, "The Crime of Helen Stanley," but nowhere near as much fun. Bellamy quickly moved on to another police investigator in Universal's "Rendezvous at Midnight," but by 1940 returned to Columbia to begin the Ellery Queen series, completing four before yielding to William Gargan, who did three more, none truly distinguished, yet far better known than Inspector Steve Trent.
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