Although young and beautiful, schoolteacher Anne Gladden fears a dull future. She finally decides to take a walk on the wild side, splurging on some fashionable new clothes and setting off ...
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Horace Vendig shows himself to the world as a rich philanthropist. In fact, the history of his rise from his unhappy broken home shows this to be far from the case. After being taken in by ... See full summary »
Although young and beautiful, schoolteacher Anne Gladden fears a dull future. She finally decides to take a walk on the wild side, splurging on some fashionable new clothes and setting off to find adventure. Her new confidence inspires her to flirt with complete strangers. When a gangster pays unwanted attention to her, she ditches him and flees in his car, unaware that there's a corpse in the trunk. Determined to recover his stolen vehicle and its incriminating cargo the thug begins a desperate search. The oblivious Anne, comes to the aid of a handsome young man stranded alongside the road. Romance blooms, but after the shocking discovery of a body in the trunk, the duo decide they have to return the car. The bickering lovebirds head back to the city, trailed by both the angry gangster and the cops, who suspect the young couple of murder. Written by
Part film noir, part mystery, part thriller, part adventure and all comic romance, Half a Sinner is a 1940 charmer which is worth seeing.
Fred Jackson (screenwriter) and Al Christie (Director/Producer) teamed up in 1940 to bring a clever Dalton Trumbo story about a schoolteacher on the run to the screen. Both Jackson and Christie had been successfully making films since 1912 - including a great deal of B and B+ comedies such as 1937's Wells Fargo. Christie's experience shows in this well-directed and well-shot melange of genres, but unfortunately, Jackson appears to have had some difficulty working with Trumbo's material. At home in comedy, Jackson appears to have grafted most of the film's humorous elements onto characters Larry Cameron (John King) and Mrs Breckeridge (Constance Collier). Collier (Rope, The Perils of Penelope) is as superb as usual, but King is monotonous and awkward.
The plot, and Angel's charismatic performance and likable character are what make this film fun and worth a look.
Miss Gladden is a mid-twenties school teacher who fears becoming an old maid. Her solution to this is to go seek adventure in the local park. Doesn't sound promising, but her good looks attract the unwanted attention of a thug. Panicking, Miss Gladden (Angel) drives off in the thug's sedan - which, of course, had been previously stolen and has a body rolled up in a rug in the backseat. Miss Gladden is oblivious about all of this. Pursued doggedly by a motorcycle cop and some fairly inept gangsters, Miss Gladden eventually picks up a man (King) in the street who claims car trouble. Car trouble indeed. Noticing the body, Larry Cameron remarks that he is also in the game. What game? Well, that becomes the mystery which makes the movie worth watching so you won't get it out of me. Many viewers will figure it out about halfway through, and most will continue watching anyway just to see how the truth is eventually revealed.
Halfway a Sinner is a fun little romp. Suspension of disbelief is most definitely required - but it is facilitated by Heather Angel's superb performance, strong Trumbo storyline, and the good humor (not laugh-out- loud comedy) of the film.
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