Two mysterious seamen come from Alan Rogers' past to blackmail him as he seeks to locate his missing daughters. Ellery Queen is called in by Stewart Cole, Rogers' secretary. Queen goes to ... See full summary »
James P. Hogan
William Gargan and Margaret Lindsay get John Litel out of a frame
Complex machinations are one hallmark of these Columbia Ellery Queens. Part of that is Margaret Lindsay impersonating someone else. In this offering, John Litel is framed for embezzlement and goes missing, to San Francisco, where someone spots him and tells his New York wife. She hires Queen, who tries to smoke out Litel. Queen's father-detective, Charley Grapewin, is soon on the trail too. This one has a femme fatale in Lilian Bond.
"A Desperate Chance for Ellery Queen" is another strong entry in the series. I am again impressed with the professionalism of the film making. That includes the actors who are constantly revealing their reactions to others. Acting is reacting. It's done quickly, without the camera pausing for too long on the person's face, because by then the next line has arrived. Has this art been largely shelved in favor of slowing things down? Sergio Leone could get away with that and raise it too high art, but not lesser directors and actors.
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