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Edward Everett Horton
A New York City detective, traveling by train between New York and Baltimore, tries to foil an on-board plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln before he reaches Baltimore to give a major pre-Inauguration speech in 1861.
When I went to see this lesser known noir, the person introducing it described it as "almost a parody" of this kind of film and said not to take it too seriously. Nevertheless, it is a film about con artists and their techniques, and I love those. Especially well showcased is the technique of letting a mark think something is his or her own idea, and people are always more determined to do things that they think are their own ideas. The story features a group of globetrotting, high-rolling grifters led by John Payne and noir regular Dan Duryea, who decide to target a wealthy but naive young war widow(Joan Caulfield) with a scheme to build a youth center memorializing her husband. This necessitates Payne pretending to be a buddy of her late husband, who in reality, he had never met. At first the plan is to raise money from wealthy friends, but she then decides to bankroll the whole project herself. Things are further complicated when a sometime girlfriend of both of the men, played by a tough-as-nails young Shelly Winters, refuses to stay under wraps. This film seems to have been largely forgotten, which is a shame.
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