A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
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Jane and Duke (alias Capt. Blake) accidently meet in Vera Cruz while chasing flim-flam man Fiske. Soon the local Inspector General (El Gato) is involved. Fiske races across Mexico, pursued by Jane and Duke, trailed by the real Capt. Blake. The crafty Inspector General is waiting for them in Tihuacan but they all give him the slip, just in time for the climactic finale. Very tight script and pacing. Written by
Not a tough gritty noir by any stretch of the imagination but instead a fun crime drama
Jane and Duke meet in Vera Cruz, where they have both come to find Jim Friske Jane because she is missing $2000, Duke because Friske has stolen hundreds of thousands that Duke has been accused of stealing. Duke himself is being pursued by Captain Blake to get the money back and bring him to justice. Duke gives Blake the slip but Friske gets away from all of them; believing Jane to know more than she is letting on Duke limpets to her to get to Friske, only for both of them to get pulled in front of the local Inspector General Ortega. All these players dance around one another as each tries to get what they want while also protecting themselves from the others.
Opening with a couple of sudden slaps and punches I assumed this was going to be a very rough pot-boiler but in fact it turned out to be not only tough but also pretty amusing and slick. The basic plot is a bit contrived and requires all the characters to be able to move around one another without getting an easy solution. This does produce some amusing interactions as the story stays quite tight on the way to a nicely twisty conclusion. It isn't dark enough or strong enough to be classed as a serious crime thriller or noir (which it absurdly is listed as by this site) but it is certainly entertaining and tough enough to be worth checking out.
The cast really help and seem to "get" the tone of the material. Mitchum is tough but has a good humour about him that sets up the rest of the film; he has judged it well and his easy charm gives him chemistry with Greer. She is also good light and sassy without straying too much outside of the role of needy female. Bendix is tough and flustered in a good way while Knowles makes for quite a nice relaxed thief that sits well with the playing that the script requires him and the other characters to do. Novarro is a fun addition and he works well as the observer in the background.
Overall this is not a tough gritty noir that it may appear to be from the period and those involved but it is still a fun crime drama. It is occasionally quite rough while also having a slight caper feel to it but the overall impact is one of quite a slick and enjoyable film that makes up for in fun what it loses in grit.
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