Tom (Don Castle) and Ann (Elyse Knox) are a down-and-out dance team, and while Don seeks engagements, Ann works as an instructor at a dance academy, with Detective Judd (Regis Toomey) one of the many customers she meets. On a hot summer night Tom, awaken from his sleep, tosses his only pair of shoes out the window to quiet two noisy cats. He goes down to retrieve them and can't find them, but Ann discovers them in front of their door the next morning. A near-by recluse is found murdered in his old shack that same day while Tom finds a wallet filled with old $20 bills. Footprints, bearing an imprint like those on a tap-dancer's shoes, plus Don's new-found wealth combine to make a good circumstantial evidence case for Judd against Tom and he is convicted. On the night before his execution, Ann seeks Judd's help in proving Tom is innocent. He turns up a suspect, Kosloff (Robert Lowell), but an air-tight alibi clears him. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film would appear to have been 'lost' since it's release in 1948, and that's a shame as while it's certainly not the best film of the 'film noir' era; it's a good one, and a lot better than many of the more popular noirs. The film features the trademark noir gloomy atmosphere, and this is excellently complimented by the shots of the city at night. The plot focuses on the idea of bad luck, as many noirs do, and the title is a lot more literal than you may think. The plot isn't full of ideas, and mostly just focuses on the central theme; which is a bonus if you ask me as it means that the director can spend more time building up the central situation and as a result; the film is ultimately more thrilling. We focus on a pair of characters; both out of luck dancers. One night, they are being kept awake by cats outside their apartment and so, as you do, he throws his shoes out the window to shut them up. He retrieves them the next day, and soon after their luck changes when he finds a wallet containing two thousand dollars. However, the police come to believe that the money belongs to a murdered man; and the husband soon comes under suspicion for the murder.
The idea that the plot focuses on is good, and the shoes of the title are the centrepiece object - which helps the film as it gives it a real sense of irony. The acting isn't the best, but all the performers do well in their respective roles. Don Castle convinces as the unlucky law abiding citizen, while Elyse Knox gets most of the plaudits for her central role as his put-upon girl. Regis Toomey, who has previously worked with the likes of Frank Capra and Alfred Hitchcock rounds off the cast nicely, and takes a lot of the focus away from Don Castle with his linchpin role. The plot plays out well, and even though the film only runs for seventy minutes; it has to be said that the film explores most of the implications of the plot, and this is always interesting since there isn't any padding. Director William Nigh does well in creating mystery and suspense, and the plot all builds to a satisfying and somewhat shocking conclusion that sees all the characters get a fitting comeuppance. Overall, this isn't a great film, noir; but it's well worth seeing and hopefully it'll be uncovered soon and given a DVD release!
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