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Decoy (1946)

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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 799 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 13 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), (story)
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Title: Decoy (1946)

Decoy (1946) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Complete credited cast:
Jean Gillie ...
Margot Shelby (as Miss Jean Gillie)
Edward Norris ...
Jim Vincent
Robert Armstrong ...
Frank Olins
Herbert Rudley ...
Dr. Craig
Sgt. Joe Portugal
Marjorie Woodworth ...
Philip Van Zandt ...
Tommy (as Phil Van Zandt)
Carole Donne ...
John Shay ...
Bert Roach ...
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:

Decoy  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Jack Bernhard met wife Jean Gillie in England, where he was stationed during WWII. He intended this film as a vehicle to showcase her to American audiences, but they divorced a short while later, and she did only one other film before her early death at age 33. See more »


As the camera dollies up on Sgt. Portugal as he reads the note taken from the money box, you can clearly she the shadow of the boom microphone go across his face. See more »


Bartender: Louie asked her how old she was. She said 23.
Sergeant Joe Portugal: If she's 20, I'll eat that glass.
Bartender: Well, Kelsey brought her in.
Sergeant Joe Portugal: Okay, okay, but if I catch you selling liquor to minors, I'll bust this joint into toothpicks!
See more »


Featured in Decoy: A Map to Nowhere (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Can you come down to my level?
19 November 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Decoy is directed by Jack Bernhard and adapted to screenplay by Nedrick Young from a story written by Stanley Rubin. It stars Jean Gillie, Robert Armstrong, Herbert Rudley, Sheldon Leonard and Edward Norris. Music is by Edward J. Kay and cinematography by L. William O'Connell.

Margot Shelby (Gillie) is dying on the sofa, a "victim" of a gunshot wound. Sgt. Jo Portugal (Leonard) leans in to hear the story of how she came to be in this situation…

Manic, delirious, bonkers, nasty, Decoy is all of those things, and more, wonderfully so. Running at under 80 minutes, this "B" noir out of Monogram spins a cruel tale of greed, fatalism and cold blooded homicide, all propelled by one of the coldest and wickedest femme fatales to have ever worn a pair of stilettos.

Plot involves money of course, there's a pot load of it buried somewhere and Margot Shelby wants it. The trouble is is that her criminal boyfriend, Frank Olins (Armstrong), is going to the gas chamber and he isn't telling anyone where the loot is. No problem for Margot, she uses her cunning feminine wiles to ensnare a couple of male dupes into her web, and then the three of them resurrect Frank from the dead and put into action a plan that will reveal where the cash is. Easy Peasy!

As the brilliant beginning has shown us, we know the fate of Margot, what you can't be ready for is what she is prepared to do to achieve her aims, and her means and motives sock you right between the eyes. Even as death approaches she still has to have the last cruel laugh. The beautifully sensuous Gillie gives a thoroughly memorable performance, it's a tragedy that she would die three years later of pneumonia, aged just 33.

Elsewhere. Bernhard (who was married to Gillie at the time) is only competent in direction, but along with the performance he gets out of Gillie (which was a veer from the norm for her), he also gets a cracker turn out of Leonard. Kay's music is inconsistent, even too breezy in the wrong areas, and O'Connell's photography is standard stuff that doesn't strive for any mood accentuation.

Yes you have to kind of unscrew your brain and black out some of the more dafter elements here, and there's some unintentionally cheese laden moments, but what an experience it is all told. 7.5/10

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