Vivian, a B-girl working at "The Grass Skirt," is being brushed off by her rich, married boyfriend. To confront him, she hijacks drunken customer Henry Shanway and his car from Boston to Cape Cod, where she strands Henry...and is never seen again. Months later, a skeleton is found (sans clothes or clues) on a lonely Cape Cod beach. Using the macabre expertise of Harvard forensic specialist Dr. McAdoo, Lt. Pete Morales must work back from bones to the victim's identity, history, and killer. Will he succeed in time to save an innocent suspect? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Stunningly Photographed "B" Mystery; Great Villain; Fine Cast and Values
This is an unusually-well-photographed detective film, starring Ricardo Montalban as a handsome and improbable young Boston detective. It has a first-rate villain, an interesting investigational format, some very good actors in minor parts and very fine B/W production values. The script was by Leonard Spigelglass, Sydney Boehm and Richard Brooks with first-rate direction by John Sturges. Rudolph G. Kopp did the music, Edwin Willis the sets with Ralph S. Hurst, Cedric Gibbons and Gabriel Scognamillo the art direction and John Alton the beautiful cinematography. In the unusually large cast besides Montalban as Pete Morales were Sally Forrest, Marshall Thompson, Elsa Lanchester, Edmon Ryan as the villain, Bruce Bennet as a forensics professor, Betsy Blair, Jan Sterling and many others. The storyline is actually fairly simple. A "B" girl being told to get lost by her rich married boyfriend has to hijack a car driven by a second man to get from Boston to Cape Cod. Months later, she turns up as a skeleton near Cape Cod. Working from clues with a forensics professor, Morales tries to free the innocent motorist she had hijacked from suspicion, prevent another killing and catch the guilty man. This is a very attractive and well-mounted production; Forrest is somewhat wasted as a housewife; but many people, Lanchester and Ryan especially, have small to large telling parts in this very good narrative. Not a great film but far-above-average in every respect.
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