Bunco Squad (1950)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  1 September 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 126 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 5 critic

A detective goes after a ring of phony "mediums" who are trying to swindle a rich widow out of her fortune.


(as Herbert Leeds)


(novel), (screenplay)
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Complete credited cast:
Joan Dixon ...
Grace Bradshaw / Bride in film
Tony Weldon - aka Anthony Wells
Det. Sgt. Mack McManus
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Jessica Royce
Barbara Madison
John Kellogg ...
Fred Reed
Bernadene Hayes ...
Princess Liane
Robert Bice ...
Drake - aka The Swami
Vivien Oakland ...
Annie Cobb
Dante ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kathleen Ellis ...
Julie (unconfirmed)
Jewel Rose ...
Young Widow (unconfirmed)
Cecil Weston ...
Susan (unconfirmed)


Told in semi-documentary style, this film deals with a little-known section of the Los Angeles Police Department which is assigned solely to checking on the activities of fortune tellers, swamis, palmists, and other occult societies, missing only Sciencetology. The primary story has L.A. police detectives Steve Johnson and 'Mack' McManus tracking down a wave of suicides they think have been influenced by a swindler-murderer Anthony Wells. The latter runs a pretentious house staffed with occultists across the board, and is trying to embezzle from Jessica Royle, a wealthy widow whose son was killed in action in World War II. Johnson uses his fiancée/actress, Grace Bradshaw, as an undercover operative to get inside information. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 September 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mensaje del otro mundo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Fast and Efficient
16 July 2009 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

You've got to hand it to post-war RKO-- they really knew how to turn out fast, efficient little crime dramas. Nothing special here, except a good look at LA locations circa 1950 and Detroit's all-time ugliest car—the "inverted bathtub" Nash sedan. Ricardo Cortez makes an excellent smoothie conning gullible women out of their fortunes. However, the phony medium set-up comes across as something of a stretch, but does lend needed atmosphere. Also, having cutie Joan Dixon play an actress allows for some clever "movie within a movie" set-ups; at the same time, the very last line sounds like an inspiration of the moment that was allowed to stand. Note too that usual bad guy Doug Fowley gets to work the other side of the law, and in a crime drama, no less. Still and all, I wish the screenplay had gotten more imaginative by using tricks from magician Dante to foil the crooks, instead of two guys in black beating up a crook in the dark, which may make an interesting visual effect, but makes no plot sense. Anyhow it's a good, fast hour of programming that shows again how well RKO could fill up a double-bill at the local theatre.

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