6.5/10
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9 user 3 critic

The Fat Man (1951)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 17 August 1951 (USA)
A dentist's murder is investigated by hefty sleuth Brad Runyan.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Roy Clark
...
Bill Norton
...
Jane Adams
...
Gene Gordon
...
Police Lieutenant Stark
...
Ed Deets
Lucille Barkley ...
Lola Gordon
Robert Osterloh ...
Fletcher
...
Happy Stevens
Teddy Hart ...
Shifty
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Storyline

An innocent dentist is murdered, the only apparent motive to steal a set of dental x-rays. To the police it looks like an accident, so Jane Adams, loyal dental assistant, consults massive private eye Brad Runyan (of radio fame); he's skeptical until he finds that Jane is being followed. The mystery deepens as Brad's search for missing dental patient Roy Clark reveals many ramifications and loose ends... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

RADIO'S FAMOUS FAT MAN SOLVES HIS BIGGEST CASE! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 August 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El hombre gordo  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Emmett Kelly's autobiography, the film makers originally expected him to play his part in his famous "Weary Willie" tramp clown makeup, but he refused and designed a new white clown makeup for the film. See more »

Soundtracks

A Dream Ago
(uncredited)
Music by Milton Rosen
Lyrics by Everett Carter
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User Reviews

 
solid detective mystery
14 September 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The odd subtexts for this film are probably what has buried it. 1. It is based on a popular radio show that sold itself as "created by Dashiell Hammett." Actually the nickname "Fate Man" was that of Gutman, one of the baddies in the Maltese Falco; the character of the radio "Fat Man" was developed out of the otherwise nameless Hammett character "The Continental Op," hero of the Dain Curse and Red Harvest. But in 1951, when this film was about to be released, Hammett was getting sent to prison for thumbing his nose at the McCarthy-era 'House UnAmerican Activities Committee' witchhunters, so his name doesn't appear in the credits (at least not the copy I've seen). 2. With reference to Hammett removed, the character is redefined; while the character remains a tough private eye, he now has acquired a gourmand's taste for good cooking - an obvious reference to the popular Nero Wolfe Character - as well as a shadow of Wolfe's sidekick, Archie Goodwin. 3. This is an early film with Rock Hudson, and it is clear where he was intending to go with his career - a Montgomery Clift without the angst - but just as clearly he decided to change directions - too bad, he's actually quite good in this. 4. This is William Castle before he decided to throw himself wholeheartedly into gimmicky horror movies, and it reminds us that he could be a very capable director when he wanted to be. 5. That the a lead baddie is played by legendary clown Emmett Kelly probably doesn't mean much today, but it's certainly worth a footnote for those interested in the history of clowns.

The story, dialog and acting are all solid; the camera-work, lighting and design are nothing special but certainly competent. The pacing is pretty good. The film keeps its suspense up and provides enough twists to be a real detective mystery. Overall a satisfying mystery from the era when such could still be made.


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