Luther Russ, a famous painter wakes to find two men breaking into his house to steal artwork. He confronts them only to be shot dead. A woman visits Gunn insisting he recover one of the ...
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Luther Russ, a famous painter wakes to find two men breaking into his house to steal artwork. He confronts them only to be shot dead. A woman visits Gunn insisting he recover one of the stolen paintings. She has a theory the theft was the beginning of a blackmail attempt. She is a married woman having an affair with Russ. Gunn contacts Walter, a local dealer who was very familiar with Russ's work. Following up on a lead he finds his way to a waterside warehouse. He meets the men who have the paintings; Gunn discovers the mysterious woman is Elsa Keys, wife of State Senator. Peter then is made aware known gangster Frankie Barber is behind the blackmail attempt. The criminals decide to let Barber and Gunn bid on the painting. The deal goes wrong and a gun battle breaks out. The two criminals are killed but Barber and Gunn escape only to drive into a police roadblock. Barber is arrested and Gunn retrieves the painting Written by
Pete's hired by an upscale wife to get a compromising painting back from a couple of killers.
Note how the nature of the portrait is only implied. It's 1959 so we can't say "nude" portrait, but that is what it must be. All in all, the entry's another stylish winner from Blake Edwards. Noir hangs heavy over the many exotics, especially that doomsday alleyway. Then too, dig the scene, daddy'o, in the beatnik coffee house, where denizens toss around windy words to pretentious effect. It's rad, dad. And get a load of the narcotized dancer. Her eyes are the closest thing to a heroin haze that I've seen. Plus, there's the upside-down Yoga girl where Pete gets to talk to a pair of shoes. No doubt about it, Edwards was Mr. Cutting Edge 1950's, and the exotica is still an entertaining half-hour.
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