A crooked lawyer blackmails a client into a murder plot against his wife.

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(original screen story), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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William Jackson
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James Tillton
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Judge Allan J. Brooks
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Lt. Edwards
Joseph Forte ...
District Attorney (as Joe Forte)
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Patrolman Patrick Riley (as Jesse Kirkpatrick)
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Reporter
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Reporter
Charles Williams ...
Reporter
Tom Holland ...
Court Photographer
Bob Jellison ...
Court Clerk
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Storyline

Martin Strong (Milburn Stone), prominent criminal attorney, becomes conscience-stricken when his is forced to come to the defense of an insane killer whom he had freed from a similar charge a year earlier. Goaded by his scheming wife, Lucille (Katherine deMille),who is in love with Dr. James Anderson (Stanley Waxman), the county police psychiatrist, Strang finally goes off the deep end when he realizes his career has become a king-size failure. In a dual plan to seek revenge for his wife's infidelity and betrayal, he writes a will leaving his fortune to the families who have been wronged by the guilty criminals he has aided. His plan is changed when he accidently becomes a witness to a crime committed by a stranger, William Jackson (Paul Guilfoyle). Certain legal aspects of the murder appeal to Strang's warped mind, and he comes to the defense of Jackson, and secures his temporary freedom by a clever legal trick. Trying to prove to himself whether he has been right or wrong in freeing... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Taglines:

STRANGEST STORY in the annals of modern crime! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

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Release Date:

31 January 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Gamblers  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Awkwardly Developed
14 April 2017 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

At first I thought this was a sleeper in the making. Those early scenes of lunatic Tilton (Budd) are grabbers, especially when he challenges Code by shooting a crippled boy and his dog! Moreover, his contrast with ice cold lawyer Strang (Stone) sets up real character color. So it's no surprise when we find out about Strang's utter lack of legal ethics. But inside the cold exterior, the lawyer's suffering pangs of conscience over the rogues he's gotten off. At the same time, his arrogant wife is two-timing him with his associate, the county doctor, of all people. Thus, despite his rigid demeanor, Strang's not altogether unsympathetic nor unconflicted. Also, director Clifton heightens this first half with some imaginative camera angles and close-ups suggesting a world where anything might happen.

Trouble is the second half bogs down in a lot of talk minus the earlier visual novelties. Though loaded with potential tension, the Russian roulette scene goes on too long and is drained by too much exposition, resulting in an action climax largely wasted. Then too, Strang's motivations behind his murder scheme are muddied up with all the talk that's not helped by an abrupt dream sequence. In short, the promising early part is undone by a awkward latter part. All in all, the movie raises interesting ideas but fails to effectively develop them.

(In passing—For fans of TV's Gunsmoke (1955-1975), it's enlightening to catch actor Stone playing a role opposite to his avuncular Doc Adams in TV's longest running western. However, if he smiled even once as lawyer Strang, I missed it. Anyway, a salute to that fine actor.)


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