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Railroad detective Johnny Douglas investigates a payroll robbery and the murder of a train crew. Tedious but thorough police work leads him to the identities of two brothers, Paul and Ed Devereaux. The Devereaux brothers hide the stolen loot and return to their father's ranch,which they hope to save from foreclosure with the take from the robbery. When the sons of two of the murdered train crew discover the hidden payroll, Johnny has a chance to spring a trap on the Devereaux boys. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »
Despite the tiny budget and lousy print, it's surprisingly watchable.
"Special Agent" is a film on DVD from Alpha Video. While I love that Alpha provides many B-movies on DVD that otherwise would never be seen, it's also the norm for the company to do no sort of restoration on the films and frequently the copies are incredibly ugly. As for "Special Agent", the film is blurry and the sound poor--as if it was copied to DVD from an old videotape. The worst sequences are at night--when it's practically impossible to see what is happening.
This film purports to be based on an actual case involving the robbery of a train. Whether or not this is really true, I have no idea. However, it appears that way since the film is made in almost a documentary style--with lots of interesting* narration along with the action.
The film begins in a sleepy locale--the sort of place you would not expect a robbery. However, the Devereaux brothers (one of which is played by George Reeves) have other plans--and they rob the a train. The oldest brother is a hot-head and in this robbery and after, he's quick to shoot anyone who might be in their way. The younger brother (Reeves) objects to this--but still goes along with his crazed brother. Apparently, the robbery is committed to help keep their grandfather from losing his ranch--an odd motivation to say the least. William Eythe plays Mr. Douglas--the guy in charge of the investigation.
So is this B-movie worth watching? Well, despite the lousy print and that the movie was made by a very low-budget studio (Pine-Thomas), the film is surprisingly good. Much of it is because the forensics are key to the film--and they are also quite realistic. My wife (a suspense writer) particularly appreciated seeing how the authorities were able to piece together the clues to find the brothers. The acting was also pretty good--though a few of the bit players were pretty shabby*. The only negative is that the narration is occasionally heavy-handed and used overly textbooky** and colorful words. I actually thought it pretty funny when words like 'slatternly' were used by this narrator (an old fashioned way of saying skanky)!
*If you look close, Frank Cady (of "Green Acres" and "Petticoat Junction") plays a bit part of a guy whose car was hijacked by the brothers.
**I couldn't find TEXTBOOKY in the dictionary and must assume they forgot to include this swell word. Try using it yourself--it's even better than slatternly.
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