Treasure of Monte Cristo (1949)
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Langan has no idea who he is nor that he is the heir to a fortune that's like the one Nicholas Cage found in National Treasure. But Brodie a bottom feeding shyster of an attorney has found out and means to get it for himself. In a truly complicated frame, with more plot that would usually characterize a Lippert Picture, Brodie ties a murder to Langan and then gets to represent him in court and throw the case to finish the job.
Figuring in all this is Adele Jergens playing her usual blond femme fatale who actually tricks Langan into marrying him. Kind of dumb, but Langan like a lot of us was letting his hormones talk for him.
This is a nicely done Lippert film much better than average with the obligatory appearance by Sid Melton. Try not to miss this one.
A Lippert Films low renter that is better than I was expecting. It blends the old Count of Monte Cristo story in with a crime tale and is all set in modern (1949) San Francisco.
Glenn Langan is a sailor just off a ship who gets mixed up with a blonde babe, Adele Jergens, and a crooked lawyer, Steve Brodie. Inside of 48 hours he ends up married in Reno and charged with murder in San Fran. Do the Police believe it is all a frame job? Of course not.
Langan gets a bum defence from his lawyer and gets sentenced to the gas chamber. Needless to say he escapes and gets the goods on the nasty types who are setting him up for the long fall. The villains get theirs and Langan ends up with the blonde. (Future real wife, Adele Jergens)
The film overcomes several story logjams with a fairly quick last 30 minutes. The entire production was shot on location and is the better for it. Always like to see cityscapes from the 1940's and 50's.
The director was by veteran B-helmsman, William Berke. During the 1940's Berke was cranking out 6 to 10 low renters a year. His best film is probably 1957's FOUR BOYS AND A GUN. The cinematographer here is another b- film vet, Benjamin Kline. Kline worked on over 350 different films and television series. He is best known for lensing the film noir, DETOUR.
If you are a fan of b crime films, then this one is worth a look.
Then we meet the hero. He's a merchant seaman, with Second Mate papers. He's coming ashore, and as he gets his land legs, he sees a woman being chased by a couple of men. Being a gentleman, he rescues her. The two of them get away, and in time, she tells her story: she's an heiress who escaped from an asylum because she's being maneuvered into a situation where the people who've committed her would get her inheritance. If she reached a certain age (she's three months shy) or gets married, she gets the inheritance.
Her story seems valid, and she proposes that she and Dantes take a quick trip to Reno to get married (:only technically") so that she can get rid of all the interference. Circumstances maneuver Dantes into going along with the deal. They get a quickie marriage/honeymoon at a hotel, and the following morning, when Dantes goes for cigarettes, she disappears, and leaves a message with the address of the asylum.
Dantes returns to try to rescue her, and falls into a situation where someone gets killed. Dantes is arrested, and soon is convicted of the crime.
spoiler alert: by the trial, it seems obvious that the attorney Dantes has hired is no help. The girl he married fell in love with him (I wonder what the honeymoon was really like), and she tries to help him. He also has "family" -- San Francisco folk who effectively adopted him as a boy also help him.
More spoilers: One refreshing thing about the film is that unlike a lot of such movies, the police are not portrayed as being stupid.
The story pieces fall tiger rather rapidly toward the end, but this is a good, entertaining film. It's even better if the viewer is familiar with the Dumas story.
It's a better than average Lippert production. The Frisco locales add a lot of eye-appeal. And though there are elements of noir in the plotspider woman, doomed manthese are not played up in the lighting or photography. It's narrative that's emphasized here, not moral shadings. Actors Langan and Jergens are okay in the leads, but it's really Brodie who injects spark. Too bad he never received the recognition he deserved. But then, like so many supporting actors, his job was to help carry the celebrity industry on his back, not on his name
Too bad Lippert couldn't resist their penchant for low humor. Here, it's one of their favorites, Sid Melton (Tyson) plus the unfortunate old guy playing the buffoonish ethnic. As expected, these do nothing for the overall effect. Anyway, things do get complicated toward the end, but all in all, it's a pretty good little crime drama for a rainy evening.