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"Studio One in Hollywood" Two Sharp Knives (1949)"Studio One" Two Sharp Knives (original title)

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

this is one of the best Studio One TV shows I have seen

7/10
Author: kidboots from Australia
3 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I actually liked this play. Of the few (4) Studio One television shows I have seen this is, I think, the best.

Judging by some of the plays ("Twelve Angry Men", "Donovan's Brain" and "The Out-of-Towners") and playwrights (Sumner Locke Elliot, Pamela Frankau and Dashiell Hammett) - the series bought some of the finest plays to the small screen.

Also considering that most television shows then were filmed before a live studio audience I thought it was really well done. The wonderful Wynne Gibson, a character actress from the 30s, who specialised in tough roles was in it and I thought the young girl looked like Susan Strasberg, but her name wasn't in the cast.

The plot was pretty intricate and involved. A man was bringing his young daughter to a hotel in a town for a reconciliation with his wife, who he hasn't seen for many years. On the train he meets the sheriff's daughter and they stop off at her dad's office on the way to the hotel. At the sheriff's office there is a wanted picture of the father - he has been accused of killing his wife. Of course he protests his innocence but they hold him overnight while they make inquiries. The morning comes and he is dead. Did he kill himself - or was it murder????

Based on a Dashiell Hammett story - so you know it is going to be good. All the actors perform well - the little girl has a particularly emotional scene. I won't tell the end but it was not often (in the late 40s) that you saw a member of this profession as a leader of a gang of crooks.

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A Fairly Interesting Episode

5/10
Author: Peppermint Twisted from United States
15 May 2016

I've seen about 3 or 4 episodes of this show so far and this one is one of the better ones. Not perfect but better than the others.

A small town cop has a murder case on his hands - a murder in Philadelphia. A wanted poster is circulated in his small town with a picture of the man wanted but the poster does not look right yet they hold this man in jail until Philadelphia can pick this guy up. The night he's in jail he's murdered, there is a cover up by the doctor who says the guy committed suicide because he is saving his friend the cop from some political garbage. This gives the small town cop a chance to investigate the strange things going on in his small town.

5/10

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Crafty little bit of noir as done for primitive T.V.

6/10
Author: mark.waltz from United States
11 January 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Complex crime drama has the estranged husband of a devious same hoping to reconcile with her and end up in jail on a murder rap and end up dead himself, an alleged suicide. Tracking down the m.i.a. wife, all sorts of suspicions begin to arise. There's the daughter she hasn't been in years as well as all sorts of other seedy characters which may include members of the local police department. The teleplay gets only slightly maudlin, but the way it is presented becomes very intriguing. Although obviously cheaply made to conform to early television standards, it never lacks on suspense. Wynne Gibson is feisty and blowzy as the wife's shady pal. The cast here is mostly listed without their characters names, and I could not for the life of me locate Abe Vigoda.

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Despite a few plot holes, an enjoyable entry for the series.

7/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
19 October 2012

"Studio One" was an exciting series in which teleplays were performed live to American audiences. And, considering the primitive equipment and sets, the shows came off exceptionally well--and some are considered classics today. While "Two Sharp Knives" isn't exactly a classic, it's a darned good and unpredictable mystery. While it features no big-name stars and the plot has a hole or two, it is pretty exciting stuff and is well worth your time.

The film begins with a man and his young daughter arriving in a small town to ostensibly meet his wife. It seems she ran off a long time ago but according to him, she wants to meet him and reconcile. The problem is that she's not yet in town and there is some sort of warrant out for the man's arrest...for murder. Now you might think you know where the film is going--and you WON'T. It takes many sharp turns and twists and kept me guessing a lot. I really liked this. My only complaint was the way the mother reacted late in the show when she met her daughter after many years. This made little sense, as they acted as if she didn't even know that she had one! You'd THINK she'd know darned well that she had a child or was the childbirth that routine and boring?! Odd--but despite this, a dandy little show.

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Fun little 1940s murder mystery

7/10
Author: Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki from United States
26 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After arriving with his young daughter to reunite with his long-estranged wife in Philadelphia, a man finds himself the suspect in a murder, his face plastered on the police official "Wanted" posters. He is held and questioned ... and found dead, hanged, the following morning in his cell, presumed to be a suicide. But shortly after his death, the "Wanted" posters are revealed to be forgeries, no murder was committed, and furthermore, dead suspect did not commit suicide- he was murdered. But who killed him? And why? Plenty of twists (perhaps one too many) in this surprisingly effective and fun 1940s murder mystery. Plus, for fans of early television, it's always fun to see how well these live programmes could be pulled off, and how often the camera crew can be seen throughout.

Congratulations are in order, however, to anyone who can make any connection between the film's title and the film itself.

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A showcase for great character actor Stanley Ridges ...

10/10
Author: sjeremko1 from Vestal, NY
14 July 2012

Prolific character actor Stanley Ridges heads a wonderful ensemble cast in a very intriguing story with disturbing subtexts involving betrayal, malevolence and mental illness. Ridges effectively essayed many roles throughout his career including the vengeful hood "Shadow" in Winterset (1936), Alvin York's military mentor in "Sergeant York" (1941) and the traitorous Prof. Siletsky in "To Be or Not to Be" (1942). He stole the film "Black Friday" (1940) from Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi with his flamboyant performance as a man with a split personality. Ridges appeared in 8 episodes of "Studio One" before he unexpectedly passed away in 1951 at age 60 -- just as he was coming into his own with television.

Ridges was a British actor who (more often than not) used an American dialect to great effect. (To hear his native English accent, watch "The Suspect" (1944) with Charles Laughton.) In "Two Sharp Knives", Ridges played Chief Scott Anderson in a realistic, naturalistic manner -- check out the way he wears his crumpled fedora. He plays so well off the other cast members and convincingly portrays the older, experienced, small-town policeman.

The great cast in "Two Sharp Knives" includes nice turns from Richard Purdy as the pathetic, lovelorn murder victim, Robert Emhardt as the ambitious D.A. at odds with Chief Anderson and Theodore Newton as the duplicitous cop. 1930s Warner Bros. B-actress Wynne Gibson plays a colorful, 'hotsy-totsy' gun moll who argues with her unpleasant partner-in-crime. Peggy French is effective as a confused, neurotic co-conspirator. The cast is rounded out with Seth Arnold as the sympathetic "Doc", lovely Hildy Parks as Ridges' daughter and a young lady who portrayed Purdy's daughter who was quite good in her role.

Highly recommended example of early live TV.

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"My experience has been that no murderer ever looked like a murderer".

7/10
Author: classicsoncall from Florida, New York
3 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was actually pretty good for a very early TV show, produced by Westinghouse for the CBS network Studio One series. Watching these shows, it's apparent that the caliber of acting and quality of the productions were very minimal. One thing though, the stories often made more sense than a lot of movies of the era, which often had looming plot holes. This story seemed to be intelligently written as a potential murder mystery, that actually turns into one when one of the main characters, Lester Furman, is arrested on suspicion of homicide, and then winds up dead in his cell. There's a swirl of events taking place around him, including a years in the making reconciliation with his wife, a young daughter who never knew her mother, and an encounter with the police that upon reflection now, needed a lot of coincidence to ever occur. There's also an elaborate frame-up that's part of a policy racket worth five hundred grand to the schemers, enough in those days to warrant some seedy characters hanging out in skid row hotel rooms while they wait for the big score. I won't give away any more, except to say that you can find this offering on a great sixty DVD/two hundred fifty movie set of mysteries from Mill Creek Entertainment, which offers a bunch of virtually unknown flicks and shows like this to watch and enjoy.

But perhaps the best part of these Westinghouse shows are the commercials separating the acts. This show from 1949 featured the Westinghouse laundromat (washing machine) and clothes dryer in separate segments, and it's curious to see the early development of commercials and how they attempted to persuade the audience. The laundromat promoted a water saving feature requiring less soap and heating requirements that would save you money. The clothes dryer offered the convenience of anytime drying with the freedom from hassle of lugging wet laundry outside to dry in the sun. Westinghouse would sweeten the deal with a convenient payment plan, and even more curiously, welcomed the potential customer to 'Buy on Proof', a strategy that had you bring in your laundry to a local store, and they would wash and dry it for you to show you how great the products were. Very clever.

I have to say, with this only the second Studio One show I've seen so far, I get as big a kick out of the commercials as I do the episode. They're just a great insight into early Americana, a sixty year time capsule ride back into history that shows you just how far we've come to the present day.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An unpredictable, hard-bitten murder mystery and solid TV drama

7/10
Author: J. Spurlin from United States
7 May 2008

A man steps off the train with his ten-year-old daughter, expecting to find the wife he hasn't seen since the girl was born. Instead, he meets the chief of police, who recognizes his face from a wanted poster. The man is shocked. Supposedly he is wanted in Philadelphia for the murder of a man he's never heard of. But the small-town chief is no fool. Something stinks about the wanted poster, the murder rap and everything else. He'll endure the dirty politics of a dishonest district attorney, a murder made to look like a suicide, and a betrayal by a trusted friend, before he learns the truth.

Dashiell Hammett's short story becomes solid TV drama, an unpredictable, hard-bitten murder mystery with a sympathetic police chief-hero.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Do People Act This Way?

6/10
Author: Hitchcoc from United States
5 October 2007

This story begins with a man and his daughter coming to visit his estranged wife. She has betrayed them, but has sought out a reconciliation, supposedly. We are then launched into a plot to get a half million dollars. The girl is victimized by her mother and loses her father. The rest of the plot is a sort of convoluted interaction among a group of murderous con men (and women). We are kept out of the loop for the most part. Fortunately, we have to bank on the integrity and goodness of the principle character, a long time police captain, who is worried about the next election. It's a simple story. Once again, it was fun to see what early television was like and to see people pull off this live performance with all its blemishes. The acting is stilted and uncertain, and the bad guys seem really out to lunch at times. Still it's interesting and worth a look.

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