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This Side of the Law (1950)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery | 17 June 1950 (USA)
David Cummings, a vagrant, is bailed out of jail by Philip Cagle, an attorney, who hires him to impersonate a missing millionaire, whose presence is necessary in order to distribute a ... See full summary »

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(as Richard Bare)

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(story), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
David Cummins
...
Nadine Taylor
Robert Douglas ...
Philip Cagle
John Alvin ...
Calder Taylor
Monte Blue ...
The Sheriff
Frances Morris ...
Miss Roberts
...
Miss Goff
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Storyline

David Cummings, a vagrant, is bailed out of jail by Philip Cagle, an attorney, who hires him to impersonate a missing millionaire, whose presence is necessary in order to distribute a $3,000,000 estate. Cummings' masquerade involves fooling the missing man's wife, his brother and the brother's wife. Cagle, desiring to be rid of Cummings, sets actions in play which ends in murder, attempted murder and the entombment of Cummings. Can he dig his way out and set things right? Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

17 June 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Deadlock  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Completed in 1948, but not released until 1950. See more »

Goofs

At the bottom of the cliff, the sheriff's dialogue clearly does not match his mouth. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Happily, this out of circulation noir is now back among the living
16 May 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Even many avid noir fans (including me) had never heard of "This Side of the Law" from 1950 until WB Archive made it available recently. Last night I watched it for the first time. I'd rate it 6.5 if I could (equivalent to 2.6/4), and that means it's about average, where average means pretty good or watchable. Film noir fans will definitely want to see it and will come away pleased to add another such film to the existing set of noir classics.

Running only 70 minutes, it's a second feature or B-movie, and so it lacks the more detailed character developments of a main feature. But it has plenty of plot twists among sophisticated and well-dressed and well-spoken people who are mostly on the OTHER side of the law, if this side means the lawful side. When you have people who are supposedly upper class or in professional occupations or dressed to kill scrambling to get $3 million by the worst of means, their demeanor conflicts with their motives and behavior. And things get interesting.

The plot revolves around an impersonation. Impersonations are always tricky. I like Kent Smith in all his movies (such as The Fountainhead and Cat People). He does well here to portray a man willing to cross the line but not by too much. He has an intelligently-written part. Janis Page makes a good femme fatale, outdone by the slick lawyer Robert Douglas. The director kept a subdued tone overall with nice touches here and there cinematically. No one overacts, which is why the film remains fresh.

The film is told in flashback that eventually merges into present time. Smith's predicament creates suspense.


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