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Ted de Corsia
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Edward L. Cahn
Rocky and Dan, war buddies, are prowl car cops on night duty. Dan is a cynic who views all lawbreakers as scum; Rocky feels more lenient. Both are attracted to the radio voice of communicator Kate Mallory; but in person, Kate proves reluctant to get involved with men who just might stop a bullet. By lucky chance, Rocky and Dan cause big trouble for murderous racketeer Ritchie Garris; but when he swears vengeance, Kate's fears may prove justified. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
First-rate police crime drama with excellent script
This is a superb crime drama featuring two buddy cops, excellently played by Mark Stevens and Edmond O'Brien. O'Brien's performance is especially marvellous, and he was really in his stride. Three years later he would be tapped by director Ida Lupino to star in 'The Bigamist' (1953), which was surely the greatest performance of his career. He 'really had it in him' despite not being the leading man type, and he should have won more than just one Oscar in his career. This film is helped by a sensationally good screenplay by Eugene Ling. It is packed with excellent one-liners and gags, and has a lot of well-judged humour, even though it is a tense and noirish crime thriller, with a lot of police procedural background. At one point, one of the cops thrusts a bill into the breast pocket of a hood's jacket and says: 'Here, buy yourself a new head, one with a brain in it.' Salty comments like that run all the way through. Modern screenwriters have absolutely no idea how to write wisecracks which work when spoken, it is a lost art, and this is one reason why so many contemporary films are so lacklustre and dull. The chief 'hood' in this story is a criminal played by Donald Buka, who is so eerily convincing as a crazed crook, with his relentless eyes and severe case of lockjaw that one's spine tingles menacingly. Gale Storm is the wholesome love interest who has to overcome the psychological trauma of her policeman father having been killed on duty, and can she get involved with a cop and risk all that pain again. It is a good solid story. Buddy cops really can be just like that. My best friend from school became a sergeant on the D.C. police force, and I used to ride around in his patrol car with him and his buddy while on duty, visit the jails and chat to the latest prostitute arrests, hang around with the cops in his precinct at the station, and exchange gags and joke with them about the street corner drug-pushers ('candy-men'). Banter was the order of the day, as it is the only way to keep sane on a big city US police force, with enforced familiarity with human vermin on a daily basis. Two nice guys really can drive around, responding to calls, draw out their guns and shoot violent criminals, bring people in in handcuffs, and then sit and have a quiet hamburger and roar with jokes with their pals. Mark Stevens and Edmond O'Brien are wholly convincing as buddy cops, mixing toughness with tenderness, and it is obvious that they were copied in hundreds of later television dramas. This was undoubtedly a seminal film which had enormous influence on the film industry. It is very entertaining to watch, though some people will bite their nails anxiously in between the jokes, as portions of the tale are extremely harrowing, especially when a little girl is held hostage by a mad gunman and dangled out of a high window to prevent the police firing at him.
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