A famous movie star's fan club secretary has been brutally murdered. She has in her office old newspaper clippings regarding a missing heiress. Did the secretary know something about the mystery of the heiress? David Janssen investigates.
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Hollywood 1961. Famous movie star Leroy Dane's fan club secretary has been brutally murdered. In her possession are old newspaper clippings regarding a missing heiress. Tom Alder, who specializes in finding missing heirs, investigates. Did the secretary know something about the mystery of the heiress, who was last seen at sixteen at a malt shop near school? When Tom goes to check up on Leroy Dane at a restaurant, Tom sees his ex-fiancée Linda for the first time in many years. Linda's friend Nikki is also at the restaurant. With the help of Tom's friends - a colonel in Washington D.C. who has access to military records and a detective in New York who has people doing research and running down clues - Tom begins to unravel a complicated story that involves Linda, Nikki, Leroy Dane, and his own past. Twenty Plus Two is a 1961 whodunit film that came out of the Allied Artists studio, starring David Janssen, Dina Merrill and Jeanne Crain.
"Twenty Plus Two" is a stylish, ambitious movie with a great look. It's a shame that it's filmed after the height of film noir, but it still has a few great scenes that are noir-ish, and plenty of night scenes in general. The movie starts off in Hollywood 1961 and follows Tom Alder (actor David Janssen) from coast to coast as he figures out a murder mystery and finds a missing person, all the while dealing with a LOT of different characters. I thought it was really well made.
The main problem with "Twenty Plus Two" is the casting of Dina Merrill as the female lead. Her character is about 30 years old at the time of the movie, and in flashback scenes, she's about 20. Merrill was 37 when she made this movie and she looked older. She was hardly believable as a 30-year-old woman, and definitely not as a young 20-year-old. She was badly miscast and it affected the movie.
Jeanne Crain fares better as a sort of "girl next door" but fifteen years down the line. She plays Linda, who was engaged to Tom before he was sent to Korea, but married someone else while he was away. Now, 11 years after they last saw one another, she wants him back, but he doesn't want her, and she spends half the movie chasing him. She and Janssen are kind of funny in their scenes together.
Agnes Moorehead as the missing girl's mother was superb in her scene with David Janssen. It's a long, pivotal scene. I give credit to both actors as their give-and-take was spot on. There's a lot of dialogue in this movie and these two could really deliver lines.
The most stylistic and atmospheric scene in the entire movie is a shot of Tom sitting alone in his hotel room, thinking about the past, smoking, and the camera follows the smoke as it rises to the ceiling. It is fantastic.
David Janssen is very, very good in this movie. He's cool, and the film's black and white visuals and jazzy score help to underline this. He should have become a major feature film star. As it was, he became a major TV star, and deservedly so.
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