This George Morris story was based on an article that appeared in "Woman's Home Companion" and later reprinted in "Reader's Digest." Eddie Condon, a two-bit racketeer, teams up with an ...
See full summary »
This George Morris story was based on an article that appeared in "Woman's Home Companion" and later reprinted in "Reader's Digest." Eddie Condon, a two-bit racketeer, teams up with an alcoholic doctor, Judson, to set up a maternity home with free facilities to expectant mothers, with the proviso that the women sign away all rights to their newborns. The babies are then offered for adaptation to couples willing to make a substantial "contribution" to the home. Things go well for this borderline within-the-law business until a baby is still-born. Conden had already sold the baby for $5,000 and has no intention of returning the money, so he substitutes the child of the sister of his wife. There is a slip-up on the filing of the certificates and the District Attorney's office gets involved. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
"Black Market Babies" (1945) is a likable film noir that rises above both its low-budget and its subject matter. It can't hide its low production values but it succeeds by taking the subject of baby-selling seriously and developing a realistic story. The original material upon which it is based probably helped. The story is told without a preaching official at the outset, which is to its credit. It doesn't attempt to explain or resolve the problem upon which it focuses, and that is something of a weakness. This is a modest film. At the same time, it shows how there is both a supply of and a demand for babies; and it shows how the mother who sells a baby is exploited by the intermediaries in the process. Its strength is in depicting the problems in an engaging story that is neither lurid nor exploitative, no matter what the title may make a prospective viewer think lies ahead.
Forbidden activities become hidden. They are bound to attract more unscrupulous behavior than open and allowed activities. The profits are high because the activity is forbidden and risky. This attracts criminals like the one Kane Richmond portrays in league with a sleazy lawyer George Meeker and an alcoholic doctor, Ralph Morgan. Richmond's single-minded pursuit for money leads him to cross ethical lines that involve betrayal of his own sister-in-law and baby-switching.
This is neither a classic nor a thorough-going noir. Don't expect that. It might be considered borderline by some or a b-noir, but it's still on the noir side. Noir lends itself to subjects that are hidden from customary view or lie unexplored. There is a degree of congruence between noir and the subterranean strains of lives.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?