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A wealthy man hires a detective to investigate his wife's past. The detective (Franchot Tone) discovers that the wife had been a dancer and left her home town with an actor. The latter is killed before he can talk, but, with the help of a showgirl, the detective learns that the wife had used stolen papers from a girl friend to enter college after she had stolen $40,000 from the night club where she worked. The detective eventually learns that the husband had killed his wife when he discovered her past in order to avoid a scandal, and had hired the detective to try and frame him for the killing. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Based on a magazine story by Roy Huggins, this movie provided the round-about genesis of the TV series 77 Sunset Strip (1958) (also created by Huggins). In this movie, 'Franchot Tone' plays LA detective Stuart Bailey, which is same name of detective played ten years later by 'Ephrem Zimbalist Jr.' in the 1958 movie Girl on the Run (1958), which, in turn, was spun off into the 77 Sunset Strip TV series that same year. Oddly, this movie was produced by Columbia Pictures, while subsequent movie and TV series were made by Warner Bros. See more »
Private eye Franchot Tone wiggles out of a frame-up and unravels exceedingly complex case
Franchot Tone was a terrific actor. He could play a psycho as in "Phantom Lady" and "Man on the Eiffel Tower" or he could switch to a smooth, fast-thinking and highly intelligent private eye as in "I Love Trouble". The title is misleading. It suggests a comedy-mystery, which this is not, despite Tone's levity and capacity to roll with the punches. He's not sardonic, like a Dick Powell. He's not weary, like a Robert Mitchum, and he's not tough, like a Humphrey Bogart. He's smart and quick-witted and self-controlled.
His client is Tom Powers, who wants his wife's past investigated, but she eventually turns up dead. Meanwhile Janet Blair pops up, as the sister of whom this wife had taken an identity before her marriage. And Janet's real sister, the possessor of that identity, has happily left it behind when she married. That's Janis Carter, affecting a terrible South American accent.
Tone doesn't know if he can trust Blair, but he knows he's attracted to her. Meanwhile his detecting takes him all over LA and nearby places where he meets up with a bevy of well-known supporting players and complications.
This is noir, done Chandler-style in complexity, in which even the writer may not know who did what to whom, when, and why. I haven't grasped it all myself, but the ride is sure enjoyable, and I'll take it again. It's done in a lighter Dick Powell "Murder My Sweet" vein, but without any narration. Solid film noir.
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