In flashback from a 'Rebecca'-style beginning: Ellen Foster, visiting her aunt on the California coast, meets neighbor Jeff Cohalan and his ultramodern clifftop house. Ellen is strongly ... See full summary »
Bill and Robin, helped by their childhood friend, Lena, develop a "reproducer" which can exactly duplicate any object. Bill, crushed when Lena marries Robin, convinces her to allow him to ... See full summary »
During the chase scene, the car driven by Agent Downey and Jack Sylvester passes the Alto-Nido Apartments (1851 N. Ivar Street, Hollywood, California). In Sunset Blvd. (1950) this is the apartment building where Joe Gillis lived before he moved to Norma Desmond's mansion. See more »
Ordinarily you'd expect Lloyd Bridges to be tracking down perennial villain John Hoyt. But here the usual roles are reversed-- Hoyt's the government agent and Bridges the small time hood. The movie itself is pretty typical of the docu-dramas of the period. It's the Treasury Department's turn to get the Hollywood treatment with the usual glowing introduction and stentorian narration. Though, like the stellar docu-drama T-Men (1947), the docu part soon gives way to big city noir. However, this film lacks importantly the former's grotesque air of nerve-wracking suspense.
Director Fleischer and the writers manage a couple of nice twists, particularly at the beginning. Nonetheless, the script makes a basic error in switching the action from Stewart (Bridges) to Sylvester (James Todd) in the climactic part. (Was Bridges taken ill or otherwise made unavailable.) Unfortunately, Todd simply lacks the screen presence to intimidate an audience or make us loathe him, whereas Bridges can snarl and menace with the best of them. Thus the last third fails to generate the kind of mounting dread required of an A-grade suspenser. Then too, Hoyt's basically cold demeanor and cruel looks don't arouse much natural sympathy that would encourage you to identify with him. Thus, the suspense is further weakened by what should be an emotional interest in the treasury agent's fate. The casting here really is a departure from the expected and to the movie's detriment.
Note how the culminating shootout takes place at an industrial site-- the overnight barn for LA's late, lamented trolley system, where we get a look at what could have eased LA's horrendous traffic problem. Actually, industrial sites crop up in the climax of a number of crime dramas of the period-- White Heat (1949), 7-11 Ocean Drive (1950), Union Station (1950), et al. I guess producers of the time figured running around big machines and shooting at each other would make for colorful audience excitement. Of course, the movie's also notable for the presence of notorious Hollywood bad-girl Barbara Payton, who was involved in several tawdry Hollywood scrapes and apparently ended her brief life as something of a cut-rate call girl ("Hollywood Babylon"). Whatever the direction of her private life, she's quite good here as Bridges' shapely blonde moll.
Anyway, for its type, the movie's average at best.
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