The first of the five films where Bill Elliott played a detective lieutenant in the L.A Sheriff's department, Dial Red "O" (the correct title with the number 0 (zero), as on a telephone ...
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The fourth of five Ben Schwab productions that starred Bill Elliott as a detective lieutenant in the L.A. Sheriff's department has Steve Nordstrom being released from prison after serving a... See full summary »
The first of the five films where Bill Elliott played a detective lieutenant in the L.A Sheriff's department, Dial Red "O" (the correct title with the number 0 (zero), as on a telephone dial, shown in ") opens with war-torn veteran Ralph Wyatt getting word that his wife is divorcing him, and he flees the psychiatric ward of the veteran's hospital, wanting to talk to her. His escape touches off an all-out manhunt, led by Lieutenant Andy Flynn of the sheriff's department. Wyatt's wife, Connie is having an affair with Norman Roper, a judo expert in Wyatt's old Marine unit. When Roper refuses to divorce his own wife (Regina Gibson) to marry Connie, they have a violent quarrel in Connie's apartment. Roper kills Connie and incriminates Wyatt, who is arrested and held on suspicion of homicide. Convinced that Roper is the real murderer, Wyatt escapes from his cell in the Hollywood Sheriff's office, and goes to Roper's home. Lt. Flynn has discovered evidence pointing to Roper as the killer, ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
excellent police film with former Western star Wild Bill Elliott
After retiring from the Western screen, Wild Bill Elliott made five hard-boiled police films at Allied Artists, this being the first of them. Elliott plays Andy Flynn/Doyle (the name changes after this one, but it's the same character), a detective for the LA sheriff's office. Elliott's stoic, brooding style is well-suited to crime films, and I'm sorry he did not make more. I've seen four of this group of five, and every one is a solid piece of work. They play very much like a grittier version of the many crime TV shows of the 1950s, and in the post-Dragnet era there is an emphasis on the step-by-step procedures used in investigating a case. Keith Larsen plays a WWII/Korea war hero who has not adapted well to the civilian world and is under psychological treatment; Helene Stanley chews the scenery as his party-girl ex-wife (her scene where she announces to her boyfriend why they "have to" get married is a classic!); Paul Picerni is the smarmy, suspicious friend of Larsen and great and good friend of Stanley. Former Columbia/Monogram regular Rick Vallin is put to good use as a police officer guarding Larsen after he is arrested. No big surprises here--the film simply delivers what it promises to: suspense, action, twists, a nice hard-boiled ambiance, AND Wild Bill Elliott. That's enough for me. While most of the film is shot on small, cheap sets, there are some good location shots of LA circa 1955 that help to give the film atmosphere. Finally, the scenes set in bars and lounges feature excellent West Coast Jazz from Shorty Rogers and his Giants, although if the band is seen, it must be just for a few moments as I went out of the room twice to get a soda and I didn't actually SEE Rogers on stage at all, just heard his music...perhaps I missed him during one of my soda expeditions. DIAL RED "O" is recommended to fans of 1950s b-crime films, if you can find it! (see my review of CHAIN OF EVIDENCE, another film in this series)
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