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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Bill Boyd in boring, low-wattage, z-grade espionage film

Author: django-1 from south Texas USA
28 December 2004

Bill Boyd, a major star in the silent era and a major star again when he became Hopalong Cassidy, made a number of low-budget films in between his peaks of fame, during the early sound era. I've seen many of them and some are quite entertaining, but FEDERAL AGENT is not one of them. It starts off well, with the other employees (offscreen, of course--it's probably the film crew saying the lines) of whatever federal agency he's reporting to kidding him about the straw hat he's wearing. Using the oldest premise in a crime film--someone's former partner is killed, leading him to swear a vendetta against the killers--Bill Boyd and his high-pitched-voice sidekick stumble through about 45 minutes of scenes before the crime is solved. There aren't many suspects and there isn't much criminology used (the trick with the dead agent having left messages on records where the first half contains music is cute), and there's next to no suspense. Boyd is always charming, but I can't believe that his charm would get him anywhere with REAL criminals and spies. Don Alvarado (I just watched him few days ago in the comedy short NO SLEEP ON THE DEEP, where he was very funny parodying his "latin lover" image) walks through the film without making much of an impression, probably realizing he wasn't given much of a role other than "agent with non-specific foreign accent." There are worse ways to kill an hour than to watch this film--this is my second time watching it (I saw it about eight years ago)--but I don't plan on watching it again any time soon. Only those who are devoted William Boyd fans need to track this down. If you want to see one of his low-budget 1930's indie films, try GO GET EM HAINES or RACING LUCK, both of which are z-grade but very entertaining.

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