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The Mark of the Whistler (1944)

A drifter claims the money in an old bank account. Soon he finds himself the target of two men who turn out to be the sons of the man's old partner, who is now in prison because of a ... See full summary »

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Joe Sorsby
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'Limpy' Smith
John Calvert ...
Eddie Donnelly
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Perry Donnelly
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A drifter claims the money in an old bank account. Soon he finds himself the target of two men who turn out to be the sons of the man's old partner, who is now in prison because of a conflict with him over the money in that account. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Drama | Film-Noir

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9 October 1944 (USA)  »

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Dormant Account  »

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1.37 : 1
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Followed by The Secret of the Whistler (1946) See more »

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A fearful Richard Dix lays his hands on someone else's dormant bank account
25 September 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Columbia Pictures made 8 one hour or so film noirs in the Whistler series. They are

The Whistler (1944) d. William Castle; Mark of the Whistler (1944) d. William Castle; Power of the Whistler (1945) d. Lew Landers; Voice of the Whistler (1945) d. William Castle; Mysterious Intruder (1946) d. William Castle; The Secret of the Whistler (1946) d. George Sherman; The Thirteenth Hour (1947) d. William Clemens; The Return of the Whistler (1948) d. D. Ross Lederman.

The first 7 starred Richard Dix. The Whistler is a shadowed omniscient narrator who makes comments to heighten the mystery, irony and suspense. Dix plays a different kind of character altogether in each movie.

Sony or another distributor really should re-release these intriguing stories in a DVD package. At one time or another, TCM has shown all but "Mark of the Whistler" and "The Thirteenth Hour", to the best of my knowledge.

The "Mark of the Whistler" is a Cornell Woolrich story, so it does not disappoint. Dix plays a down and out man who is able to impersonate another man in order to claim a large dormant bank account. His impersonation leads him into trouble since the vanished man is being sought by another man bent on revenge.

I like Dix as an actor in all his films. The ones he made in the 30s and 40s hold up very well today because he didn't overact and yet could convey emotion in other ways; and because he also chose to appear in good material. In this one, when there are closeups of his eyes he conveys his fear of being caught amazingly well. Paul Guilfoyle and Porter Hall, reliable character actors, provide support, as does glamorous Janis Carter playing a reporter with push. I hadn't seen the revengeful man before, played by John Calvert. He conveyed suitable menace. Castle's directing is not flashy, but neither is it boring or mundane. He consistently adds to the movies he directs in his own subtle and unobtrusive ways.

The only hint of comic relief, other than the big smiles of Janis Carter, comes from Willie Best in a brief and uncredited appearance as a men's room attendant.


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