One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
Richard Connell was the author of 'The Most Dangerous Game', one of the most popular and most widely-anthologised short stories of the twentieth century. So I had high hopes for 'F-Man', a film for which Connell receives a story credit. Serves me right for getting my hopes up. The whole plot of this movie is (ahem) 'borrowed' from 'The Monster', a 1922 play by Crane Wilbur that was filmed in 1925. The only innovation is that Connell has moved the action out of a spooky old sanitarium into several new locations.
Johnny Dime (Jack Haley) is a soda jerk in a drugstore in a hick town in Nevada, but he has dreams of being a G-man. He makes a pest of himself at G-man headquarters, until finally Chief Hogan (William Frawley) and Agent Cartwright (Robert Middlemass) decide to get rid of Dime by inducting him as an 'F-man': not quite good enough to be a G-man, geddit? Dime spots a respectable businessman named Shaw who's a dead ringer for a fugitive on the Most Wanted list. We know that Dime has got the right man ... but has he really got him? The ending of this movie is the same as the ending of 'The Monster', although the villain ends up differently.
I like Jack Haley -- I never met him, but I knew his vaudeville partner Benny Rubin, who often told me what a great guy Haley was -- and I really wish that Haley were remembered for anything at all besides playing the Tin Woodman. Among his other achievements, Haley was the singer who introduced 'Button Up Your Overcoat'. But 'F-Man' is no feather in his cap. The comedy is weak, the plot is predictable (especially for anyone who's seen 'The Monster'), and most of the performances are lifeless. William Frawley sleepwalks through a role that he could easily have played to perfection. Grace Bradley (as the villain's moll) and Adrienne Marden (as Haley's love interest) are so dull they barely registered on my memory. Sorry, Jack, but I'll rate this movie only 2 out of 10.
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