An ex-cop who is now a private detective is hired by a woman to be the go-between in retrieving an important envelope from her partner. The detective has the partner come to his apartment ...
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An ex-cop who is now a private detective is hired by a woman to be the go-between in retrieving an important envelope from her partner. The detective has the partner come to his apartment to give him the envelope, but someone sneaks into his apartment and strangles her while the detective is in another room. Fearful that the police will suspect him of the murder, he brings the woman's body back to her own apartment, but the police find out and suspect him of the murder anyway. He must find out who is framing him for the murder and why, before the police catch him. Written by
Private eye Richard Conte gets asked by Faye Marlowe to pick up an envelope for her, in exchange for a brooch and a $50 bill for Conte. Suspicious as he is, the money is too good to pass up. The person with the envelope is his business partner Ann Savage, who's doing some blackmailing on the side. They meet up in Conte's apartment for the exchange, but Savage ends up dead, strangled. To avoid trouble, Conte and his friend Mantan Moreland drag the body back to Savage's apartment, after which Conte starts digging. He finds out Marlowe is working under a different name in a mindreading act with Kurt Kreuger, and that their manager Martin Kosleck is also really eager to retrieve the contents of the envelope. But Conte also has to be careful, as the police see him as the #1 suspect in Savage's murder.
This was the first starring role for one of the greats of noir Richard Conte ('Thieves' Highway', 'The Big Combo'), and he is solid as always, altho slightly more energetic/bubbly than his usual more restrained/intense self. Ann Savage's ('Detour') screen time amounts to under 2 minutes, she has 1 scene with Conte before she gets strangled. Marlowe ('Hangover Square') is good as the lady who is not quite who she seems at first, but she's no femme fatale either.
Director Robert Webb (Elvis Presley's 'Love Me Tender'!) and DoP Glen MacWilliams (Hitchock's 'Lifeboat', 'Shock') infuse the movie with some nicely done noir visuals, but the story is rather linear and straight-forward, with very few surprises or twists. In fact, the movie seems cobbled together from elements of more well- known/successful private eye movies like 'The Maltese Falcon' and such. This programmer was never meant to become a classic, but it's a nice time-waster. 6/10
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