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Quinn K. Redeker
Robert Blake goes up against powerful Hollywood film magnate
Although I rate the movie as only fair overall, I recommend it for fans of Robert Blake and for film noir and neo-noir fans. The quality of the movie suffers at times from overacting and choppy story construction. It benefits from the spunky and earthy qualities of the lead character, private detective Joe Dancer. He confronts the Hollywood executives and is unimpressed by movie stars and titles. He's intelligent and figures things out quite rapidly. Blake does a lot of voice over narration and does it well, and this connects the movie to some noirs of old. In its portrayal of Hollywood decadence and corruption, it is neo-noir, as well as in the uphill fight of a lone detective against powerful men and police who sit on their hands. It's mainly in some clumsiness in the film making itself that I rate it 5 instead of 6.
The story has many action scenes and events, far more than a more typical and sleepier detective yarn. You will not fall asleep. One extended stunt involves a helicopter and no stunt double for Blake. It looks like it was risky and took top flying skills to engineer it. The story has a good deal of complexity as well that should keep you wondering what's next.
Veteran William Prince (sort of the George Macready double) adds interest. So do some assorted actresses, who at times become very hysterical.
But Blake is the main event. As Joe Dancer, he holds little back. He confronts and he lays his cards on the table. He goes right to the point or the jugular.
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