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C-Man (1949)

 -  Crime | Film-Noir | Drama  -  27 May 1949 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 82 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 2 critic

A Treasury Department agent is murdered. His best friend, a fellow agent, investigates and stumbles into a scheme involving smuggling and murder.

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Title: C-Man (1949)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Cliff Holden, alias William Harrah
...
Doc Spencer
Harry Landers ...
Owney Shor
Lottie Elwen ...
Kathe van Bourne
Rene Paul ...
Matty Royal
Walter Vaughn ...
Customs Inspector Brandon (as Walter Vaughan)
Adelaide Klein ...
Minnie Hoffman
Edith Atwater ...
Lydia Brundage
Jean Ellyn ...
Birdie Alton
Walter Brooke ...
Joe
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Storyline

A Treasury Department agent is murdered. His best friend, a fellow agent, investigates and stumbles into a scheme involving smuggling and murder.

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Genres:

Crime | Film-Noir | Drama

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Release Date:

27 May 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

C-Man  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Soundtracks

Do It Now
Written by Gail Kubik and Larry Orenstein (as Larry Neill)
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User Reviews

 
Beneath its tacky veneer, a gritty and audacious New York crime movie
11 May 2003 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

When his best friend is murdered in pursuit of jewel smugglers, customs agent Dean Jagger finds himself assigned to track down the killers and close the case. He flies to Europe in order to catch a return flight on which a chief suspect (Réné Paul) will be traveling. Before boarding, Jagger makes the acquaintance of a war-bride (Lottie Elwen), journeying to America to join her fiancé.

During the night flight across the Atlantic, Elwen falls `ill;' (she's been drugged on board by soused-up sawbones John Carradine, working for the smuggling ring). From the airport, she's whisked away in a hijacked ambulance, wearing a priceless necklace. There's a traffic crash, and she escapes to flee (she thinks) to her waiting fiancé; alas, the groom-to-be has been murdered as well, by one of Paul‘s myrmidons, vicious hothead Harry Landers. Jagger meets her there, thinking she's an accomplice; when he comes to trust her, he goes undercover to penetrate the operation....

C-Man is a New York story told in the warts-and-all, in-your-face style of the following year's The Tattooed Stranger or Guilty Bystander (the latter also directed by Joseph Lerner) – a low-down, dirty town. The location shooting takes us to as many liquor stores as Ray Milland patronized in The Lost Weekend (Jagger is tracking down Carradine, who has a taste for pricey Benedictine), to jazz cellars and fleabag hotels (the one `penthouse' we visit is dowdily middle-class). Part of the grunge can be laid to a desperately low budget, but the filmmakers turn their liabilities into pungent atmosphere.

They also take some chances. One bludgeoning murder in this unusually brutal movie turns almost abstract, like an experimental film; the striking score by Gail Kubik (who by the way is male) evokes mid-century avant-garde classical music – of the `academic' school – or even third-stream jazz. The low-voltage Jagger, unfortunately, is a bit long in the tooth for the derring-do, and four-square for the lippy repartée, required of him. But beneath its tacky veneer, C-Man shows an unexpected grittiness and audacity.


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