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Merle Kramer works as a stenographer for a psychiatrist. She is casually dating Karl Benson, a private eye and former cop. Merle mentions in passing that one of her boss's patients is an author with recurring dreams of murdering his wife, and she includes the fact that the wife owns valuable jewels. When the wife is found murdered in a manner identical to that of her husband's dream, the husband is naturally the prime suspect. But as the investigation of the police and insurance investigator Joe Cooper proceeds, it turns out that several people in the case, including Merle, are not what they seem. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
One thing about Manhandled there are no shortage of suspects for the murder of Irene Hervey. About three quarters of the way through the murderer is revealed. It's what happens after that which gives Manhandled a rather unusual twist.
What's really odd about the film is that other than being a leading man and someone for Dorothy Lamour to take an interest in, Sterling Hayden has very little to do with the solving of the case. Hayden plays an insurance investigator whose company sends him in to help the police solve the case and recover the stolen jewels. But usually in these films it's the private investigators who show up the slow witted cops. That's not what happens here, lead detective Art Smith is very much on the job, more so than the audience is lead to believe all through the film.
I'm thinking that Paramount and Sterling Hayden were about to come to an unfriendly parting and Paramount did not want to exhibit Hayden in any kind of good light. He did two films before his war service and this was the third of three afterwards. Still Hayden did do well with what little to do he was given.
Manhandled is made by the host of character actors in the film playing some interesting parts. There's Alan Napier, Hervery's husband who has been having recurring dreams about killing his wife. There's Harold Vermilyea the psychiatrist Napier was seeing about said dreams and who Dorothy Lamour works for. There's Dan Duryea who is a private detective who's been seeing Lamour. Finally there's Philip Reed who Hervey's been seeing on the side.
So when Hervey is murdered the suspects are a plenty. I will say this that the actual culprit is someone who thinks fast on their feet. But it turns out the cops have not been as dumb as the culprit suspects.
Paramount as a studio did not do much in the way of noir. But when they did do it, the results were pretty good like Manhandled.
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