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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 »
From the school of Raymond Chandler, an obscure film noir that packs a punch
Don't be put off by the frisky title: I Love Trouble isn't one of those dismal crime-cum-comedy hybrids so inexplicably popular in the '40s (true, a bantering element tries to creep in from time to time but it's held mercifully at bay; one routine, however, starring a hash-slinger named Miss Phipps, deserves to be bronzed).
It's a pretty hard-boiled private-eye yarn, very much in the Raymond Chandler tradition - maybe a bit too much. More specifically, I Love Trouble follows the footsteps tramped out by Murder, My Sweet and The Lady in the Lake, and follows them doggedly. And its subsidiary roles are filled with actors who make up a Who's Who of film noir: Janice Carter, Adele Jergens, John Ireland, Raymond Burr (barely visible, alas), Tom Powers, Eduardo Ciannelli, Steven Geray, Sid Tomack. Parts even smaller (it's a big cast) are filled to the brim with apt characterization.
The principal role of the gumshoe, however, goes to Franchot Tone, who plays it very much in the Powell-and-Mongomery-as-Marlowe style. He's hired by a tough businessman (Powers) to keep tabs on his elusive wife (Lynn Merrick). Tone traces the obligatory route from low dives to high places in his quest, from back alleys in Portland and fish dumps near the oil derricks of Santa Monica (Chandler's corrupt `Bay City') to gated mansions where swimming pools sparkle amid manicured lawns. All Tone knows is that, back in '46 (or was it '41?), Merrick came down from Oregon, where he learns that she was a bubble dancer in a mobbed-up nightclub, who absconded to Southern California with a cheesy comic (Tomack).
Or did she? When another woman claiming to be Merrick's sister (Janet Blair) fails to recognize her picture, Tone finds himself with a lot of pieces none of which seem to fit together. And the heavies from up north are joined by powerful folks in Los Angeles who firmly discourage him from looking any further (when he's not being eyed fetchingly by expensive wives and mistresses, he's conked on the head or drugged up at every turn). Getting warmer, he tries to coax more information from Tomack, only to find the funny fishmonger dead and himself a suspect. But when Merrick's body washes up under a pier, her death opens more questions than it answers....
The director, S. Sylvan Simon, shows considerable promise which was not to be redeemed (he died, at age 41, three years after making this movie). But most of the credit, however derivative, should probably accrue to its writer, and author of the novel on which it's based, Roy Huggins; he also penned Too Late For Tears, Woman in Hiding and Pushover, and, moving to television, would create 77 Sunset Strip, The Fugitive, and The Rockford Files. It goes to show how cracking the books at the school of Raymond Chandler can pay off in the future. So what if I Love Trouble is knockoff Chandler, a cocktail shaken up from two films made from his novels? Chandler neat is a potent shot - even watered down it holds its deep, smoky flavor.
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