The body of an unknown woman turns up in a stolen car abandoned in a New York park, and the only clue the detectives on the case have to work from is the tattoo on her arm, and the fact ... See full summary »
The body of an unknown woman turns up in a stolen car abandoned in a New York park, and the only clue the detectives on the case have to work from is the tattoo on her arm, and the fact that someone tried to deface the corpse to remove the evidence. From this slender trail, and that of a single stem of grass discovered in the car, they gradually trace back first the victim and then her killer, in a case that's all science and legwork, and no magic inspiration. Written by
This police procedural is no worse than many others of its era and better than quite a few. Obviously it is following in the steps of "Dragnet" and "Naked City" but emerges as an enjoyable programmer. The best thing about it is the unadorned look it provides into a world now long gone...the lower class New York of the late 40's/early 50's. Here it is in all its seedy glory, from the old-school tattoo parlors to the cheap hotels to the greasy spoons. These old police films are like travelogues to a bygone era and very bittersweet to anybody who dislikes the sanitized, soulless cityscape of today.
Also intriguing is the emphasis on the nuts-and-bolts scientific aspect of solving the crime...in this case, the murder of a tattooed woman found in an abandoned car. Our main heroes, Detectives Tobin and Corrigan, do the footwork, but without the tedious and painstaking efforts of the "lab boys", they'd get nowhere. Although the technology is not in the same league, the cops here use the dogged persistence of a C.S.I. investigator to track down their man.
The way some reviewers have written about this movie, you think it would have been directed by Ed Wood and acted by extras from his movies. What bosh! I enjoyed John Miles as the gangly ex-Marine turned cop Tobin...he had a happy-go-lucky, easy-going approach to the role that's a welcome change from the usual stone-faced histrionics of most movie cops of the period. Patricia Barry is cute and delightful as his perky girlfriend who helps solve the crime. Walter Kinsella is stuffy and droll as the older detective Corrigan. I rather liked the chemistry of these two and it made for something a bit different than the sort of robotic "Dragnet" approach.
The mystery itself is not too deep and the final chase and shoot-out certainly won't rank amongst the classics of crime cinema, but during it's brief running time, "The Tattooed Stranger" more than held my interest.
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