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When FBI Agent Zack Stewart is killed, Agent John Ripley takes over the three cases he was working on, hoping one will lead to his killer. The first involves gangster Joe Walpo and Ripley finds his hideout through Joe's girl friend, Connie Anderson. Joe is killed but it is established he was 400 miles away when Stewart was murdered. The next involves a car-theft gang which Ripley breaks up by using one of the gang, Vince Angelino and his wife Julie. The last case involves Kate Martell, the victim of an extortionist who threatens to kidnap her child unless she pays him $10,000. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Moderately interesting programmer made at a time when police procedure was popular on both the big and little screens. The influence of TV's Dragnet is apparent in the stentorian voice-over and the rather feeble attempts at quirky citizen humor. An FBI agent is killed in the line of duty. His chief Broderick Crawford determines that the killer is tied into one of three cases he's investigating. But which one. The narrative follows his sorting through the cases, all the while both he and we wonder which one will lead to the culprit. It's a good premise, but director Laven does little to develop the potential.
Movie gains a lot from location photography in and around a burgeoning LA. The final scene makes effective use of that city's landmark "Hollywood" sign, the only film I know to do that. There's a fine performance from Ruth Roman as a beleaguered mother whose child is under threat of kidnap, along with an unusually restrained Crawford as the head agent, a role I suspect recommended him for for the lead in the following year's hit series Highway Patrol. Note the rather gratuitous cheesecake scenes from Roman and the bosomy Martha Hyer. After all, the movies had to do something to get people away from the novelty of their television sets. Nothing special here. Just an easy way to pass a spare 90 or so minutes.
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