Joe Manning returned from the Korean War a changed man and became a Bohemian artist, supported by his understanding mother and distrusted by others. On a drunken binge, Joe flirts with torch singer Irene Crescent, who is later found dead by the hand of the town's serial killer...and Joe's the prime suspect. No one will help Joe except carhop 'Slacks'. Can they find the real killer before he finds them? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Shot in five days even though the original schedule called for seven. See more »
Joe is shown arriving at and leaving Pango Pango club in broad daylight, but the scenes preceding and following this sequence, together forming his drinking binge, take place in the middle of the night. The scene after leaving Pango Pango is revealed to take place at 2am, and it is later said he arrived at Pango Pango at midnight! See more »
[Joe is painting a picture of a woman in a negligee; he becomes frustrated, and paints a red slash over the painting]
[his mother, Nora, enters.]
Well, it's different...but is it art?
Art? It's not even fit to hang in a barroom.
I wish I looked as good...and I did, once.
[looking at the painting more closely.]
What's wrong with it?
I don't know, Nora. I don't know! I can see it in my head, but it doesn't come out on the canvas. I want her to have warmth, and humor, and wisdom...and ...
[...] See more »
Awkward but really interesting anyway, an honest bit of B-movie-making
Crime Against Joe (1956)
The point of seeing a B movie like this isn't always to find a great masterpiece in the rough. There are the moments or originality, the bit performances, the style of photography or writing. But there is also the glimpse into a time period that sometimes seems more real exactly because it isn't all polished up and idealized.
And this is a pretty interesting, not so bad movie. It's set and shot in Tucson in 1955 (there's a calendar on one wall), a very low point for Hollywood movies, and this is coming from the fringes of that (one of the producers was the "third writer" in "Casablanca). There is one star, of sorts, a white crooner (and looker) named Julie London, who is lovely and sincere and not half bad..
John Bromfield is the centerpiece, and if he's a hair clunky, this makes him kind of more believable as a good-looking guy named Joe Manning on the outs. He's an ex-soldier who thinks he's an artist but knows not a very good one. He drinks too much. He wants a woman in his life, and the movie begins with him kissing his wise mother goodnight and he goes out on the town. "Well, I'm looking for a girl," he says to the singer from the bar (another torch singer, Alika Louis, who appears here in her only movie).
One of the social revelations of the movie is attitudes toward drinking and driving. Joe gets hammered while sitting in his car, drives to a diner, and is visibly drunk as a couple of cops say hello to him (one even chuckles, as if it's kind of funny). More chilling encounters with the cops come later. A killer is bumbling around town, and it looks like it's either Joe (and we don't know it) or the cops are going to think it's Joe (and it's not). It's a pretty tense situation held back only by some occasional awkwardness.
What makes it work, though, is the down to earth acting because it builds up the Hitchcockian mood of a wrong man under suspicion. Witnesses misinterpret things, evidence gets piled up based on presumptions. It's good stuff. And then Joe has to figure out the crime for himself, which he applies himself to with intelligence. (His acting gets better as he sobers up.)
And by the end you see why the movie has its title. It's no masterpiece, but it has enough going on to keep a movie lover glue, I'm sure.
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