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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
1951's, SECRETS OF MONTE CARLO, comes to us from that seemingly endless
supply of programmers that REPUBLIC STUDIOS churned out. This one has
plenty of twists and turns packed into its 60 min run time.
This wild one starts with Warren Douglas as an American fireworks importer on his way to Hong Kong. He stops off at Monte Carlo for a day before continuing on his trip. While having a drink in the bar he meets a knockout of a dolly, June Vincent.
She chats him up and it turns out that they are both flying on to Asia. She asks if Douglas would mind taking a small suitcase on to the aircraft for her. It seems she is over the luggage weight allowed and would hate to leave anything behind. Douglas of course agrees. "Anything to help a lady."
Needless to say that something is perhaps rotten in Denmark! Vincent is really part of a group of high end jewel thieves. The gang has just pulled a major heist and need a patsy to run interference with the boys from customs.
Vincent meets Douglas at the airport and hands him a small case. She then excuses herself to the ladies room. Planted in the case are men's shirts, ties and one piece of the stolen jewels. Customs goes through the bag and quickly grabs up Douglas. The arrest of course allows one of the other thieves to pass through with the rest of the goods and board the plane.
Douglas is given the 3rd degree by the local constabulary and the detective from the jewel's insurance company. They decide that Douglas was used as a decoy and release him. He can continue on his way to Hong Kong on the next plane. Also on the plane go the insurance man, Robin Hughes, and his sister, Lois Hall.
The insurance company had gotten a cable saying a certain party in Hong Kong was willing to "return" the jewels for a third of the insured amount. That takes care of the first 30 mins of the film. They are not in Hong Kong a day, when insurance man Hughes is kidnapped by one faction of the jewel robbery gang.
It seems the gang's original plan of selling the jewels back to the insurance company does not sit well with some of them. Vincent and her cronies figure they will double-cross everyone and get a bigger split.
There are several rounds of flying fists and a couple of blazing gun-battles before Douglas rounds up the villains.
Ultra cheap fare that is better than i make it sound.
Directed by George Blair who turned out a few decent low-rent noir like, Exposed - 47, Unmasked - 50, Insurance Investigator - 51 and the very good Lonely Heart Bandits -50.
To complete a doubleheader, I took in another Republic rather short
feature, "Secrets of Monte Carlo" (1951), a crime noir. It should have
been titled "Secrets of Hong Kong" because most of the action occurs
there. The leads are Warren Douglas, Lois Hall and June Vincent, but
the cast is capable all the way around. The story is about a jewel
theft by a ring of 4, which includes Vincent, 2 thugs, and Stephen
Bekassy posing as Vincent's husband at times. Hall's brother, Robin
Hughes, also enters the story as the insurance man trying to recover
the stolen jewels.
Douglas maintains a sense of humor throughout, despite being framed and facing several other obstacles. One of Ms. Vincent's best parts was in the classic noir "Black Angel" (1946). This is quite a few steps down in movie quality, but she does have a substantial part and it's good to see her stretch out in the role and take several choruses, so to speak.
This is a watchable and entertaining movie.
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