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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>
A MYSTERIOUS INTRUDER kills Richard Dix's kindly client before Dix can find out why he wants to spend his meager earnings to find a girl the client adopted long ago. Will Dix double cross his way into the big money before psycho-baddie Mike Mazurski kills him, or tough cop Barton McLane puts him away?
This is full-blown film noir, with an even more morally ambiguous hero (Dix) than most. The full-blown crisis of conscience Dix endures through this movie anchors the fast-moving (and often incoherent) plot in something a little more substantial than is found in the usual private eye caper. The ending to this one is a very good double twist, one of which is a little surprising. Dix's performance is about as far as you can get from Humphery Bogart and Dick Powell -- eccentric and theatrical. It works quite well for establishing his character. The other actors play the usual set of tough cops, psychos, loyal secretaries and money grubbing blonds in the ways you might expect.
In other words -- find this one if you like noir.
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