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Andrew L. Stone
"Confidence Girl" is a very frustrating film. The first half is clever and exciting. Yet, inexplicably, the entire pace and style of the film chances midway through--and the quality of the production sinks.
When the film begins, a special investigator, Roger Kingsley (Tom Conway), meets with the police about a confidence woman he's been pursuing, Mary Webb (Hillary Brooke). He even gets department store managers and police to help him in his hunt for the woman. The only problem is, she is Kingsley's partner! And, for much of the film, Webb swindles people right and left while in some cases Kingsley helps her and in others he misdirects the police. This is all very clever and exciting and it hooked me.
I have no idea why, but a bit later, instead of all these many scams, Kingsley devises a very, very, very elaborate mind-reading routine starring Webb. As I said, it's elaborate and it takes so much money and so many confederates that it's utterly ridiculous. The scheme works very well--and they wait to make a big score. However, when a murder occurs in town, the cocky Kingsley insists they should incorporate this into the act. As for Webb, she goes along for a while but when she realizes she MUST act or someone else will be killed, she goes to the police.
Aside from the second half being ridiculous and fitting poorly into the first part, the film hinges on a sociopathic woman suddenly caring enough to alert the police--saving someone's life but also dooming her to prison. If this woman steals and hurts people throughout the film, who in their right mind would believe that she suddenly is bothered by her conscience?! Overall, a movie that starts very well but takes an unexpected detour to Dumb-Dumb City! Not worth your time.
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