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Hal Moffat who is taking wholesale revenge by murdering those he holds responsible for his predicament, is befriended by Helen Paige, a blind piano teacher, and he develops a warmth for her that leads him to add thievery and robbery - no big deal, he is out there anyway - to his murders so that she can be provided with the money for an operation. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Rondo Hatton passed away before the film was released. Universal was so embarrassed by its shameless exploitation of Hatton's disfiguring illness (which led to his death) that it sold all rights to the finished film to "B" studio Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). See more »
Attention all cars, attention all cars: general alarm. Car 22, go to 733 Spring Avenue, it's a 341, that is all.
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Rondo Hatton was a former reporter who began acting in films in 1930 when he was covering a film being made in Florida. During the 30s and 40s he was mainly seen in small roles, often as hulks, due to his large body size and the fact the he had contracted acromegaly after being gassed during the first world war. In 1944 he was cast as The Hoxton Creeper in a Sherlock Holmes film, The Pearl of Death, and achieved brief stardom-or at least cult stardom-until his early death from a heart attack at age 52 in 1946 (he had suffered a milder heart attack the previous year as a direct result of his condition).
In this, one of his last films, not only does Hatton get the starring role, he has a great deal of dialogue and proves that he could be a good actor when given the chance. It is unusual for audiences to feel as much sympathy for a killer-especially one who has killed several times-but we do for Hatton. His scenes with Jane Adams, playing Helen, the blind piano teacher, are especially moving. Helen sees the inner man without being able to see the physical one, and although as I said he's a killer he gives the impression of a very human, tragic figure. Helen wants to touch his face, but he won't let her; this gives one a strong impression of a mirroring of the life of the actor himself. Just like the character he plays, Rondo Hatton was an athlete when younger, and excelled at football.
All of the cast play their parts well. Donald MacBride, frequently cast as the dumb cop, plays a very canny and intelligent one here, and he's ably supported by Peter Whitney-looking handsome and slim!-as Police Lieutenant Gates. The photography is well-done-especially considering the budget (or lack thereof) and there are some nice angles and lighting, especially when Hatton is prowling around the city.
Note: This film was actually made at Universal, who sold the rights to it to PRC shortly after it was completed (and Rondo Hatton died).
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