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The fifth entry in the Columbia series based on the CBS radio program, "The Whistler", opens with kindly old music store owner Edward Stillwell (Paul E. Burns) hiring private detective Don Gale (Richard Dix) to find a girl Stillwell hasn't seen in seven years. Gale sends Freida Hanson (Helen Mowery') to pose as the missing Elora Lund (Pamela Blake), and she learns that some items left by Elora's mother are now extremely valuable before Harry Pontos (Mike Mazurki) comes into the room and kills Stillwell. He also kidnaps Freida but releases her when Don announces she is an impostor. With Freida's help, Gale locates Pontos' apartment, who is shot down in a gun battle with the arriving police. Gale returns to his place but is arrested by detectives Taggart and Burns and jailed. The detectives later find the real Elora, who has been in a sanitarium recovering from an accident. Gale is released and Elora is sent by the detectives to see if he will disclose why Stillwell was looking for her.... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Here's another fine entry in Columbia's noirish Whistler series, the fifth chronologically, and fourth directed by soon-to-be schlockmeister William Castle. Like the first in the series, Castle imbues the film with an especially sleazy atmosphere. The shadowy b&w photography, threatening background detail and desperate lowlife characters evince a cynical view of the urban world, and the writers obliquely hint at sordid relationships and motivations which simmer below the surface of the story. Series lead actor Richard Dix, normally emotively challenged, gives a rather eccentric interpretation of a venal, socially inept gumshoe seeking a big score, who is ironically given the opportunity for redemption. Buffs will certainly savor the parade of iconic supporting actors like Mike Mazurki and Charles Lane. Much better than one would expect from a mystery series, this picture reflects the seamy side of life usually glossed over by the Hollywood veneer.
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