Decoy (1946)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  14 September 1946 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,006 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 16 critic

A mortally wounded female gangster recounts how she and her gang revived an executed killer from the gas chamber, to try and find out where he buried a fortune in cash.



(screenplay) (as Ned Young) , (story)
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Complete credited cast:
Jean Gillie ...
Margot Shelby (as Miss Jean Gillie)
Edward Norris ...
Herbert Rudley ...
Dr. Lloyd L. Craig
Police Sgt. Joe Portugal
Marjorie Woodworth ...
Craig's Nurse
Philip Van Zandt ...
Tommy (as Phil Van Zandt)
Carole Donne ...
John Shay ...
Bert Roach ...
Mack - Bartender
Rosemary Bertrand ...


Gangster Frank Olins is to die in the gas chamber much to the dismay of his girlfriend Margot Shelby as he is carrying the secret of the location of $400,000 with him. Margot seduces gangster Jim Vincent to get him to engineer the removal of Olins' body from the prison immediately after he dies in the gas chamber. She takes prison doctor Craig away from his nurse/girl friend and gets him to administer an antidote for cyanide gas poisoning. During the removal of Olins' body, the hearse driver is killed by Tommy. The revived Olins gives Margot half of a map showing the money location and Vincent, in a fit of jealousy, kills Olins and takes the other half. Because the doctor's plates on his car will get them through the police roadblocks, Vincent and Margot take him with them on the money hunt. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She Treats Men the Way They've Been Treating Women for Years!






Release Date:

14 September 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Mulher Dillinger  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


From his death certificate, the character Frank Olins was a doctor from 1926-1946. His date of birth is listed as October 3, 1906, so he became a doctor at age 19 or 20. See more »


There are errors on the death certificate of Frank Olins. The typed date of death is May 10 (with the year omitted), however the handwritten date the attending physician (Craig) "last saw the person alive" is July 8, 1946. The time of death is typed in as 7 p.m., but the execution took place at 8 p.m. The entry "Maiden name of mother" lists the first name of Bertha, instead of her surname. See more »


Sergeant Joe Portugal: [Reading a note] To you who double-crossed me... I leave this dollar for your trouble. The rest of the dough, I leave to the worms.
See more »


Featured in Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

DECOY (Jack Bernhard, 1946) ***
18 July 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Given this film’s rarity (it went unseen for 30 years), I guess even self-confessed film nuts could be excused for never having heard of it – that is, until its announcement as part of Warners’ fourth “Film Noir Collection” on DVD. While some of the pairings in that 10-Movie 5-Disc Set were done without rhyme or reason – and it had seemed to me to be so here as well! – the film actually had a connection to its companion piece, CRIME WAVE (1954; which I’ve just watched a couple of days ago), via the credit on both of blacklisted scriptwriter/actor Nedrick Young (he appeared in the latter but only wrote DECOY).

Being a Monogram production, the film wears its Poverty Row status on its sleeve – with a bizarre plot (involving the re-animation of the dead: this has to be the only vintage crime outing to take the genre into the realm of sci-fi!), gritty look and second-rate cast – but which it generally manages to turn in its favor. In my review for CRIME WAVE itself, I had written how surprised I was that the film proved to be so good – this, then, came as even more of a shock (joining the ranks of such ramshackle ‘B’ noir gems as DETOUR, DILLINGER {both 1945} and GUNMAN IN THE STREETS [1950])! The film was devised as a showcase for British actress Jean Gillie by her husband, director Bernhard – however, the couple would divorce soon after and (even more sadly) Gillie herself would be dead of pneumonia in just a couple of years’ time! Still, hers is one of the most unscrupulous femme fatales ever conceived – ensnaring practically the entire male cast in her obsessive pursuit of money – and which she plays in a slightly overstated (but, under the circumstances, entirely fitting) manner.

The rest of the cast includes Edward Norris as Gillie’ crooked associate, Robert Armstrong as her ageing gangster boyfriend currently on Death Row and the only one who knows the location of a stashed cache' containing $400,000, Herbert Rudley as the small-town doctor enticed by Gillie into her unholy revivification scheme, and Sheldon Leonard as the cagey and dogged cop on their trail. Norris is somewhat stiff, while Armstrong (the original Carl Denham of “King Kong” fame) brings his typical zest to the role of love-struck and over-the-hill duped mobster – but both Rudley (bemoaning his betrayal of the code governing his profession) and Leonard (secretly enamored of Gillie himself, he’s willing to answer her plea at the moment of death to “stoop to her level”…but she just laughs in his face!) match the lady’s display of cool elegance disguising an essentially hard-boiled nature. Incidentally, Gillie’s character anticipated such celebrated noir bad girls of the ‘deadly sweet’ variety as Jane Greer in OUT OF THE PAST (1947) and Peggy Cummins (coincidentally, another British actress) in GUN CRAZY (1950) – but also Gaby Rodgers in KISS ME DEADLY (1955) in view of her similar histrionic outburst when finally laying hands on the long sought-after object of contention.

Unfortunately, it’s been revealed that the print of DECOY utilized for the DVD is slightly censored: one of the main characters is trampled no less than three times by a car which has Gillie at the wheel – however, we only get to see this once in the current version! For the record, Bernhard (whose first directorial effort this was) had been an executive at Universal – responsible for such popular ‘B’ horror outings as HORROR ISLAND and MAN-MADE MONSTER (1941; which I still haven’t managed to check out!). Finally, I’m to follow DECOY with another noir of his – the evocatively-titled BLONDE ICE (1948), via the “Special Edition” released by VCI…

8 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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