A police lt. is ordered to stop investigating deadly crime boss Mr. Brown, because he hasn't been able to get any hard evidence against him. He then goes after Brown's girlfriend who despises him, for information instead.
The new commander of a Navy Underwater Demolition Team--nicknamed "Frogmen"--must earn the respect of the men in his unit, who are still grieving over the death of their former commander and resentful of the new one.
After two gang-related killings in "Center City," a suspect (who was framed) is arrested, released on bail...and murdered. Inspector Briggs of the FBI recruits a young agent, Gene Cordell, to go undercover in the shadowy Skid Row area (alias George Manly) as a potential victim of the same racket. Soon, Gene meets Alec Stiles, neurotic mastermind who's "building an organization along scientific lines." Stiles recruits Cordell, whose job becomes a lot more dangerous... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Walter Greaza who portrayed Police Lieutenant Stander, would later gain popularity as the star of the NBC TV crime series "Treasury Men Action" (1950-55). See more »
When the load of newspapers is thrown on the rain-soaked street from the moving vehicle it rolls over ensuring that both sides have been exposed to the street's wetness. However the resultant cut-in shows the news headlines clean and dry with no hint of dirt or moisture. See more »
From the stentorian prologue, you'd think it's organized crime and not organized Soviets about to take over the country. Either way the FBI gets a big image boost and an expanded role. As 40's film buffs know, a number of federal agencies got the docu-drama face-lift during this period, likely driven by Cold War needs. Note in this installment how public trust is located in federal authorities instead of more traditional local ones. Cynics might regard this as helping prepare the public for the growth of a post-war national security state.
The real star here are the seedy locations from skid row San Pedro to boxing gym LA. Cameraman Joe McDonald does ace work getting a noirish feel that lends real eye appeal to the venues. However, Widmark has undergone a relaxant since his psychotic turn as Tommy Udo (Kiss of Death, 1947) and is not nearly as interesting. Still, those skeletal features are menacing enough. Blandly handsome Stevens gets the thankless agency-man role and is predictably colorless. Too bad these agency stereotypes aren't allowed at least some quirks.
Wow, I really like Barbara Lawrence, all blonde hair and svelte figure. If I were Widmark I wouldn't bat her around so much, even if those brief scenes are the movie's liveliest. Then too, that final sequence should have been sent back for rewrite. It's not only unbelievable but also needlessly insulting to cops. Now, I'm no Pollyanna when it comes to the boys in blue, but can Widmark really count on cops just walking up and shooting someone, even under suspicious circumstances. The movie may be in the FBI's back pocket, but it's clearly not in the cop's.
I'm just sorry a noir director, like Mann or Karlson didn't get the material first. Keighley is competent but lacks a feel for the complexities of evil, especially any kind of chaotic undercurrent. As a result, we get little more than an unmemorable procedure tale, cloaked in the atmospherics of noir but without the substance. The movie has some suspense and is entertaining, but if you think you've seen it before, you probably have.
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