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Michael C. Chorlton
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A young lad has his fine new hatchet confiscated by a grumpy baker. The boy's hot-headed father tries to get it back, but this results in a fight in which onlookers seem to see the father use the disputed weapon to strike and kill the baker. At the resulting murder trial, their evidence on this point becomes a matter of life-and-death. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dead serious, but like a `very special' episode of a sit-com
This odd little movie opens with a lofty sense of purpose, dedicating itself to `the need of arousing every man and every woman to the dangers that lie in circumstantial evidence.' What ensues resembles a `very special' episode of a sit-com.
Single dad Michael O'Shea sends off for a set of Davy Crockett woodsman's tools for his son Billy Cummings (who even looks like The Beaver). Boys being boys, the kid starts busting up wood crates behind the shop of a neighborhood baker, who slaps him and confiscates the offending hatchet. Enraged, O'Shea goes off to retrieve it. In the struggle, the baker winds up on the floor, with a gash in his forehead, dead. Witnesses swear they saw O'Shea lower the fatal boom. Next thing, O'Shea's on death row.
Avuncular postman Lloyd Nolan, who played no small part in all that went before, takes Cummings under his wing. With Nolan's help, and that of his friends in an athletic club, Cummings stages a charade that convinces even the governor that his dad deserves a new trial. O'Shea, meanwhile, convinced that his situation is hopeless, decides to break out of prison....
It's hard to know for whom this programmer was made - the Saturday matinee peanut-gallery crowd? Despite a thick roster of B-movie stalwarts (Ray Teal, Reed Hadley, John Eldredge, John Hamilton), it's simplistic and implausible throughout. Only in its last moments does it rally, displaying any tension and visual style. One can't help wonder, with all that had just happened in Europe and the Pacific, what was the miscarriage of justice that precipitated this call to arms against circumstantial evidence?
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