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Bill Crane, a private detective with no weakness as an investigator but large ones for blondes and straight-whiskey, gets a call from his attorney friend, Charles Frazee, with a request to find evidence that will free Robert Westland, who is under death sentence for murdering his wife. Crane immediately runs into a barrage of machine-gun fire, and a blonde, Agatha Hogan, only slightly less dangerous. After a night of wine, women and song, Crane picks up a clue that may aid Wstland. With the help of a deep-sea diver, a stop watch, and a taxicab driver, he is sprinting after the real culprit...just as Westland is starting his last mile to the electric chair. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
This was the first picture produced as part of Universal's 1937 deal with the pulp mystery publisher, Crime Club. The deal allowed the studio to produce up to 4 of it's novels per year. A total of 11 films, all B-pictures were produced, ending with The Witness Vanishes (1939), released in late September, 1939. See more »
Robert Westland is in prison and set to die in a matter of days when private detective Bill Crane (Preston Foster) decides to take his case. Westland's wife was found murdered inside her apartment with all the doors and windows locked. There were only two keys with one on the inside and the other with her husband.
THE WESTLAND CASE was the first of eight Crime Club films that would be produced at Universal in a very quick period. This was the first in the series that I've watched and I must admit that I was really letdown by it, although I've read that it's one of the weakest in the series. I think the biggest problem is the fact that the screenplay really isn't all that memorable and in fact I'd argue that it really isn't any better than some of the detective films from the poverty row companies.
I think the biggest problem is in fact the screenplay, which doesn't give us an interesting case and it certainly doesn't give us any interesting characters. The Crane character really isn't any different than a dozen other detectives out there during this era and he certainly doesn't put himself up there with the best known. Even worse are the supporting members who don't add much of anything. Throw in some rather weak humor and you've got all the elements for a rather bland film.
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