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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

French Key, Spanish Coins, Good American B entry

Author: Mike-764 from Rego Park, NY
23 November 2007

Johnny Fletcher and Sam Cragg have skipped on their board bill and try to sneak into their room to get their trunks, when they find a corpse on their bed clutching an old Spanish coin. Fletcher being a pseudo-detective learns the nature of the coin from a numismatist named Vedder, but learns that he is mixed up some way with the murder. Apparently the murdered man was mixed up with a gold smuggling outfit where the coins were actually stolen gold forged into the rare coins. However Fletcher has to find out the murderer and how & where the stolen gold is located. This is a very enjoyable B mystery aided especially but the witty dialogue by Frank Gruber, who also wrote the novel the story is based on. Its a shame however that Republic didn't decide to continue the series. Dekker and Mazurki are obviously enjoying themselves in the picture and Dekker does add a somewhat sophisticated touch to what could have been an ordinary urbane role. The movie does move nicely but the end Dekker's character does seem to change to a more hardboiled sleuth than the fly by the seat of his pants character he was. A good B-repertoire cast (Ankers, Foulger especially) make this an enjoyable hour plus. Rating, 8.

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Albert Dekker and Mike Mazurki search for the murderer of a body in their apartment

Author: msroz from United States
16 November 2014

"The French Key" is a byzantine murder mystery. Albert Dekker and Mike Mazurki do private detective work. The tables are turned when they discover a dead body in their hotel room, whose door is sealed by a French key broken off in the lock due to their failure to pay their rent. A $5 gold piece is grasped in the corpse's hand. This has to do with a scheme to convert then-illegal bullion into fake rare coins, the latter being legal. Dekker and Mazurki are one step ahead of the police, and sometimes not even that. The trail leads in several directions, but how do they tie up? And which of the many people involved is behind it all? The story mixes comic lines with seriousness in an excellent balance. Neither overwhelms the other. As one who prefers the serious, I was not at all put off by the comic elements in this movie. They were handled gracefully and without overdoing it. Evelyn Ankers provided female support. This kind of mixture was a strong point for the Republic Pictures studio.

I found the picture enjoyable as well as a challenge to follow. The actors are capable. The writer, Frank Gruber, did much fine work. I've always found Dekker's work to be very interesting and to stand out. He has many fine credits. Mazurki's parts were smaller but no less memorable.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Goldilocks and the 3 bears

Author: Alex da Silva from United Kingdom
1 February 2012

Mike Mazurki (Sam) recounts the story that starts off with a French key. The key had been put into the keyhole of his and room-mate Albert Dekker's (Johnny) room by the landlord and then deliberately broken off in the keyhole so that they could not return due to unpaid rent. They manage to get back into the room only to find a dead body and a gold coin. So begins the mystery.

The cast play the film as a comedy and there is the occasional humorous moment but there are also plenty of dumb, silly segments that try to pass as humour. Detective Joe DeRita (Fox) is a stereotypically stupid investigator who looks like the fat one out of Abbott and Costello. It's actually a pretty poor show when he ends up being the best thing about the film. The story is just not very interesting and Albert Dekker doesn't cut it in the leading role.

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