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Burnt-out private dick Jacob Aloysius Spanner teams up with his brother to help an old adversary track down his one remaining loved one, his kidnapped granddaughter. But who's the hood and who's being hoodwinked?
Lee H. Katzin
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Mitchum and Dickinson, the 2 main reasons to watch this one
Robert Mitchum is a private eye who has given up on life. He's hired by casino owner Mell Ferrer, someone has been cooking his books and he thinks his wife might be in danger because of it. Mitchum finds her quickly enough, but minutes after he leaves her apartment he witnesses her fall from her balcony to a sudden death. Inspector Jose Perez thinks it's murder due to one of her slippers being nowhere near the balcony while she was wearing the other one, and isn't crazy about Mitchum acting like a clam. Ferrer re-hires Mitchum however, this time to find out what happened to his wife. He eventually discovers that ex-hooker and barfly Angie Dickinson, who's been throwing herself at him ever since he stepped into the casino, might be the key to unlock the mystery.
This is a decent but unremarkable made-for-TV movie, which stands out due to the presence of Mitchum ('Out Of The Past') and Dickinson ('The Killers'). Mitchum plays the type of role he was made for, as a broken man who's so jaded by his past (which includes a failed suicide attempt) that he cannot even get it up for the sexy and affectionate Dickinson. Dickinson is good and gives her character a genuinely warm side, but because of it, the impact of her character on the dead wife's past is never really felt. The 'kindred spirit' chemistry between Mitchum and Dickinson works really well however, it is there, but neither character really knows how to act on it, and fall back in their old ways. Their scenes together, as well as Mitchum's world-weary lines and voice-over narration which is used extensively throughout this movie, are what make this movie stand out.
The movie itself plays out at a very leisurely pace, and doesn't really 'thrill', even tho it's competently made. It's just not an edge-of-your-seat mystery/thriller. Pretty routine work from director William Hale and DoP Terry K. Meade, with only an occasional creative shot such as when Mitchum witness the fall. The plot, based on a novel, is also pretty straight-forward and not too surprising. Watch this one for Mitchum and Dickinson's scenes.
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