Arson is the way out for a failing cosmetics company
"Backfire" (1962) is a pretty good crime story. It starts off with no crime in sight by introducing us in a genteel and well-mannered way to the various characters as they come to work at the Venetia cosmetics company. There are two head men, an older and a younger man. They have a business problem with a creditor who supplies them with chemicals. The younger proprietor is a shady businessman who cooks the books and lies to buy time to get the cash to pay what is owed. The elderly man is far more honest. Then we meet the younger man's wife who runs a retail part of the business and is in league with his hanky-panky. There is the sweet and helpful daughter of the elderly man. There is an Hungarian cleaning lady and her daughter who will soon be married.
The younger boss has recruited an arsonist as a way of collecting on insurance. The arsonist is one of those perverted characters whom fires gratify. After the fire, which itself involves a number of complications, there will be an insurance investigator.
The plot is developed logically and in a rather subdued manner that is not ineffective in gradually building up tension. This is a reasonably good crime story with a couple of twists in it that contribute, and it's executed in a competent way. If all the other movies in this Edgar Wallace set are done as well as this one, then certainly the series will have succeeded. This is about the 3rd one I've seen, and they do seem to be good crime stories of modest budgets that have no special distinction in terms of photography but succeed on the basis of good plotting and sometimes interesting situations and characters.
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