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The Detectives: The Outsider (1962)
Nutbar with a Rifle
THE DETECTIVES The Outsider - 1962
This one is episode 85 of the 97 episode run of, THE DETECTIVES. This series starred Robert Taylor and ran between 1959 and 1962. The first two seasons ran at a half hour and the last season had a runtime of an hour. The series followed the detective squad in a big city precinct. Cast regulars included, Mark Goddard, Russell Thorson, Tige Andrews, Lee Farr and Adam West. Robert Taylor headlines as Police Captain, Matt Holbrook.
Dabbs Greer has just been let out of the prison after a long stay. He needs a place to stay, so he heads to the city to look up his dead brother's wife and child. Greer's stay in prison has loosened Greer's grasp on reality. He figures everyone in a uniform is out to get him. He breaks into a pawn shop and steals a high-powered rifle and 12 rounds of ammo.
The next day, he bags a postman with a shot from a nearby roof. The Police are called. Detectives, Adam West, Tige Andrews, Mark Goddard and their Captain, Robert Taylor, are soon on the case. Things heat up as another postal type is shot and killed several blocks away. Then a third is fired on, but manages to dive under some cover and survives. The cops are at a loss to what could be motivating these attacks. They go through their files looking for clues. They then get a possible lead by checking just released convict lists.
They pay a visit to the apartment of Greer's sister in law, Patricia Huston and her daughter, Diane Mountford. The swine, Greer, is holding the young daughter hostage and has Huston lie to the Detectives. This does not fool the cops as they can see the fear on Huston's face.
The cops leave and call in reinforcements. Once the Police are set up, they call on Greer to surrender. Needless to say this has no effect other than to draw several rounds as an answer. Dabbs soon runs out of ammo and the Police charge in and slap the cuffs on the creep. Dabbs is babbling to himself about men in uniforms always hurting him.
L. Nimoy as a Hit-man
CAIN'S HUNDRED Murder by Proxy 1962
Cain's Hundred was a series that ran for 30 episodes during 1961 and 1962. Peter Mark Richman stars as a former mob lawyer who now works for the Government. He switched teams after his fiancée had been killed in a mob hit. This one is episode 19 of the series.
Richman is after Mob boss Charles McGraw for ordering the murder of a witness. McGraw though, has the perfect alibi as he was in prison at the time on a tax beef. Also up on the murder rap is hit-man Leonard Nimoy.
Richman believes he has McGraw nailed with the testimony of Fay Spain, the girlfriend of the murdered witness. McGraw's lawyer, Oliver McGowan, however rips into Spain and proves her evidence false. It seems that Spain was willing to do anything to get even with the man she believes ordered her lover's death.
Richman's case looks like is about to go for a deep six when another witness steps up. The witness, Juanita Moore, had seen the dead man in the company of hit-man Nimoy on the day of his death. This puts a fright into McGraw, who has one of his mob threaten to kill Moore's child if she does not change her testimony.
The judge on the case, Regis Toomey, smells a rat with the changed story. He has a private talk with Moore and gets the truth out of her. She also recalls that there was another man with Nimoy at the time. The man turns out to be Mob book-keeper, Gerald Hiken. Hiken had been a friend of the witness, and been used by the mob to flush the man out of hiding so Nimoy could kill him.
Nimoy and McGraw are convicted while Hiken is arrested and charged.
A much better show that I was expecting with some nicely handled courtroom scenes. It is no Perry Mason, then what is? But it does pass the time rather well.
Homicide: Flashpoint (1966)
Murder in the Woods
HOMICIDE FLASHPOINT - 1966
This is episode 57 of the top-notch Australian Police series, HOMICIDE. This series ran 510 episodes between 1964 and 1977. It follows the Homicide squad of the Melbourne Police Force.
This episode starts with the murder of a Government Forest Warder out on fire patrol. The warder came up on a drunk, Norman Yemm, who was brewing up some tea. Yemm refuses to put out the fire and tells the Warder that a fire ban means nothing to him. This leads to a fight and Yemm brains the man with a hefty piece of wood. He then grabs up his gear and hotfoots down the track.
Yemm stops at a small service station and café where he knows the owner. The woman, Leila Blake, and her daughter, Christy Child, hire Yemm to help around the station.
By this time, the body of the Forest Warder has been found and the Police called. Detectives, Terry McDermott and Leonard Teale are assigned the case. They soon have Yemm as the main suspect and start a tour of the local farms etc. looking for the man.
Yemm, again grabs up his gear and a .22 rifle, then, beats it into the woods to hide. The Police are not far behind and it soon becomes a cat and mouse game, as Yemm attempts to escape into the backwoods hill country.
The chase ends with Yemm taking a fall down a large hill and breaking his back. The Police call in a copter and whisk him to the emergency ward.
This was one of the first episodes where all the action takes place outside of the city of Melbourne.
Norman Yemm would later join the series as a Detective, and appear in 130 episodes.
Kiss Her Goodbye (1959)
Decent low budget Potboiler
KISS HER GOODBYE - 1959
This low budget film stars Steven Hill, Elaine Stritch, and in her film debut, a 19 year old Sharon Farrell.
Hill and Farrell are driving along the coast heading for Florida when their car conks out. They hitch a ride into the nearby burg with local farmer, Andrew Prine. They snag a room at the local beach motel ran by Dan Reed and his daughter, Elaine Stritch.
We now discover that Miss Farrell is not quite all there in the brain-pan department. She has the body of a nubile young woman, but the mind of a 8 year-old. Hill needs to keep a close watch on Farrell to make sure there is no "interference" from the male population.
The next day, Hill gets himself a job as a mechanic for local service station owner, Gene Lyons. He agrees to work for free for a week if he can fix his car using the station equipment. Lyon's happens to need a man, so he agrees to the deal. While all this is happening, a rather under dressed, Farrell is heating up the non-female types in town. Of course Farrell has no idea of the effect she has on the opposite sex.
Hill starts to take an interest in Stritch and tells her about his sister's problems. Stritch, who recently became a widow with a young child, likewise takes a shine to Hill. She loves how he does everything he can to look after Farrell. Stritch even overlooks an incident where Farrell wanders off with Strich's baby. She decides to help the girl, and puts her to work as a waitress in the motel café.
Needless to say this is not the best of ideas, as the male customers try to put the moves on her. Farrell wigs out and tries to stab several of the swine. Hill is summoned from the station to calm the girl down. Hill admits that Farrell can become somewhat unhinged when pressed by unwanted attention. She has been known to hurt people. He tells Stritch, that Farrell and himself will be moving on as soon as the car is repaired.
Farrell decides to run off and is soon picked up by service station owner, Gene Lyons. He offers the girl a silver locket if she will come for a ride with him. Of course we all know what this "ride" means. Hill finds Farrell back at the motel with ripped and blood covered clothes. He also recognizes the locket as the same one Lyons had been showing around the station. The upset Hill goes a-hunting for Lyons.
Next, we find the local law, Howard Fischer, talking to Hill while looking over a battered and quite dead Lyons. Hill admits to the killing, but the medical examiner is sure Hill had nothing to do with it. It was of course Farrell bashing Lyons with a handy blunt object that did the deed. Hill is just trying to protect his little sister to the last.
They head back to the motel to find that Farrell has again wandered off. They find her body floating in the surf near some rocks. Hill is upset, but also relieved, as he knew he could not have protected her forever.
This low rent potboiler was written by pulp writers, Robert Allison Wade and H. William Miller. The two published under the name, Wade Miller. Some of their more famous film work, includes, A CRY IN THE NIGHT, TOUCH OF EVIL, GUILTY BYSTANDER and WARNING SHOT.
The cast does some nice work here. The only real weak point is the static direction of Albert Lipton, whose work was limited to just this film. It should have looked better with veteran cinematographer, Art Ornitz at the controls. Ornitz was the d of p on, THE PUSHER, REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, THE ANDERSON TAPES, BADGE 373, SERPICO and DEATH WISH.
Farrell is very good as the unknowing "femme-fatale" who can't help drawing men in.
Homicide: The Breakout (1968)
Prison Escape Foiled
HOMICIDE The Breakout - 1968
This is episode 182 of the top-notch Australian Police series, HOMICIDE. This series ran 510 episodes between 1964 and 1977. It follows the Homicide squad of the Melbourne Police Force.
This episode starts with the murder of a drunk by two men. The two, Roger Ward and Tony Thurdon, are thugs involved in planning a prison breakout. The drunk had learned about the plot and needed to be silenced. The two men had been involved with a third man, Tad Hamilton, in a half million dollar robbery several years before.
Hamilton had been captured and sentenced to a long spell in prison. He never revealed to the law, or his partners, where the money was hidden. Ward and Thurdon would really like to lay their hands on the cash. Hamilton has been a model prisoner, and once a month, gets an escorted visit to the town outside of the prison.
Hamilton's wife, Maggie Millar acts as the go between for her husband and Ward and Thurbon. They plan a break for the next time Hamilton is on an outside visit.
Ward and Thurdon kidnap the girlfriend of the guard escorting Hamilton to town. The guard, Bob Moors, is less than happy and is soon on to the Police. Detectives Leonard Teale, George Mallaby and Lionel Long are quickly onto the case.
Needless to say that the thugs plan is upset and the kidnapped girl is rescued. Hamilton, Ward and Thurdon are all soon enjoying some up close and personal time together in prison.
Homicide: The Novice (1965)
A first job goes Wrong
HOMICIDE The Novice - 1965
This is episode 43 of the top-notch Australian Police series, HOMICIDE. This series ran 510 episodes between 1964 and 1977. It follows the Homicide squad of the Melbourne Police Force.
A young man, Brian Hannan, breaks into a home in a nice area of Melbourne. As he his looting the house, the owner, Freda Wilson, returns from a shopping trip. Hannan is surprised by the woman and uses a sawed off .22 rifle to beat the woman to death. He then fills his swag bag with some jewels and exits the home.
Several hours later, the dead woman's daughter shows and finds the body. The daughter, Fernande Glyn, gets on the horn and calls the Police. Detectives Leonard and Terry McDermott are soon on the scene. Evidence is quickly gathered and fingerprints lifted.
Hannan, being new to the robbery game calls in a friend, Kevin Howard, for some advice on finding a fence for the jewels. Howard tells Hannan word of the murder and robbery is already out, and that no fence will touch the jewels. Hannan then contacts his girlfriend, Vanessa McGurk. He tells McGurk that he found the jewels in a park. He wants the girl to call Glyn and ask for a reward for their return.
McGurk, not the swiftest horse in the stable, believes Hannan's tale and agrees. She calls up Glyn and offers to return the 20 grand in jewels for a 200 dollar reward. Glyn agrees and they set a time for McGurk to drop off the swag. Glyn is quickly onto the Detectives with the info about McGurk. The Police stake out the house and wait for McGurk to show.
McGurk brings the jewels and is silly enough to take a cheque for the 200 dollars. The Police follow figuring McGurk will lead them to the killer. The Detectives follow her to the bank, and then to Hannan's place. Hannan though, has spotted the Police tail on McGurk. He grabs his rifle and bag and high-tails it. He plans on hitch hiking out of town.
The Detectives wait for a half hour outside before entering the flat to grab up McGurk. They had been hoping someone else would show. McGurk finally realizes what a sap she has been, and tells the Detectives everything she knows. An all-points bulletin is soon out on Hannan. Hannan in the meantime, has stolen a car after shooting the driver. He is however soon cornered and grabbed up by the boys in blue. A long vacation at the State's expense is in his future.
Reign of Terror (1949)
Top Flight Mann/Alton Collaboration !
THE BLACK BOOK 1949
I finally got around to this one, and I was rather surprised just how much I enjoyed it. Even though I'm a fan of the director, and director of photography, the French Revolution just never grabbed me as a possible venue for a noir, so I avoided this one for years. Boy was I wrong to do that.
Loved the look of the whole production, I'd swear that John Alton lit the entire film with the refection of a lit cigar off a quarter.
Robert Cummings and Richard Basehart headline with great support from, Arnold Moss, Beulah Bondi, Charles McGraw, Arlene Dahl and Richard Hart. Look close and you can see long time bit players, John Doucette, Dabbs Greer, Dan Seymour and Royal Dano.
The story is about a group of patriots out to stop the evil Robespierre, played by Richard Basehart. The man has been on a spree of trials and executions of everyone opposed to his rule. He wants to be named dictator of all of France. This of course does not sit well with many.
It seems that Robespierre has a book with all his enemies, real or perceived in it. If the Patriots can obtain said book, they can expose Robespierre as the murdering swine that he is. Robert Cumming plays the main agent of this underground group.
Produced by budget minded Eagle-Lion studios, this one sure gives full value. Well worth a watch, though some of the prints out there are not that great. I caught this one off TCM. Director Anthony Mann strikes again!
Battle Zone (1952)
Korean War on a Budget
BATTLE ZONE 1952
This Korean War film is about a group of combat photographers and the dangers they face. John Hodiak and Stephen McNally are WWII vets sent to Korea to teach the new bunch how it is done.
The soldiers are soon shipped to Korea and take part in the UN attack to retake South Korea. It follows the team up into North Korea, and then the retreat back south after the Red Chinese launch their counter-offensive.
After the front has more or less settled down, the team is sent out on a secret mission to film Chinese preparations for further attacks. Needless to say this does not come off as planned, and the group has to fight their way back to UN lines. Of course they manage to bring out the needed footage with them.
Also in the cast are Martin Milner, Dave Willock, Carleton Young, Philip Ahn, and in an early bit, Charles Bronson. Linda Christian plays the love interest, who gets between Hodiak and McNally.
While not a barn-burner by any means, the pace is keep moving by veteran B-film helmsman, Lesley Selander.
The Strangers in 7A (1972)
A Perfect Robbery Fails
THE STRANGERS IN 7A 1972
Andy Griffith, Ida Lupino, Michael Brandon, James A. Watson, Tim McIntire headline this rather unseen television film from 1972. Griffith plays a super in for a New York apartment block who gets himself in deep trouble. Griffith's wife, Ida Lupino, is going out for the night to stay with her ill sister. Griffith figures on a night out at the local bar for a few drinks, is in order.
At the bar, he runs into Susanne Hildur. The leggy and well-built girl is soon hitting on the flattered Griffith. Hildur is down on her luck and needs a place to stay for one day. Griffith decides that maybe this is his lucky day to get a bit of strange, and offers her a place. He takes her to the apartment of a tenant who is off on vacation.
Of course this is just too good to be true. Soon after Griffith takes Hildur upstairs, they are joined by Brandon, Watson and McIntire. The men tell Griffith that they also need a place for a day. Play along and everything will be cool. They will not tell his wife about him trying to step out. Griffith figures that what can one day hurt, and agrees.
He returns to his apartment and finds that Lupino has returned early from her trip. He tries to play it cool, but Lupino can see he is nervous about something.
Meanwhile, up in 7A, the men and Hildur are going over a plan to rob the bank located next to the apartment block. The trio of men are all Vietnam vets with plenty of explosives know how. They plan on going down the side of the building to the bank roof, then blowing their way in. They have been planning the caper for some time, and know all the Police patrol times etc.
The next day, Griffith sees several of the group go out. He decides to have a look in 7A, maybe they have all left. What he finds is the plans for the robbery and all the equipment for the heist. Needless to say he is caught in the apartment by the thugs.
Brandon, the leader of the bunch has Lupino brought up to join the happy little group. Brandon gives Griffith a sound beating and ties both Lupino and Griffith up.
That night the men head up to the roof and down onto the bank. Hildur, still in the apartment, starts making fake emergency calls to the Police and Fire Department. She gives them the addresses of apartment buildings away from the area. This is to pull the Police patrols away.
The three men now blow a hole into the bank and drop into the safe area. They stuff everything of value into their bags. They then start back up the side of Griffith's apartment building.
The local foot beat cop though, has heard the explosions, and rushes to the sight. He sees Brandon, Watson and McIntire scaling the side of building. Out comes his revolver and he starts blasting. He nails McIntire and wounds Watson.
Brandon and the wounded Watson head to the apartment to collect Hildur. Needless to say the Police are quicker off the mark and soon have them cornered in the building. Brandon has Watson place a bomb on the building elevator roof. He then sends Miss Lupino down to the Police with a message. Let them leave, or the whole building goes up in 20 minutes.
Brandon, Watson and Hildur now grab up Griffith to use as a hostage. Brandon holds a sawed off to Griffiths while they wait for the elevator. Hildur now decides that this really is not her idea of fun, and refuses to go. Brandon laughs and shoves Griffith into the just arrived elevator. He then blasts Watson with the sawed off. A one way split sounds better, and besides, the wounded Watson would slow him down.
Griffith decides to act and jumps Brandon. The two wrestle for the gun and Brandon catches a full load in the shoulder. Without giving any more away, the bomb still needs to be found and defused.
The director here is big screen veteran, Paul Wendkos. Wendkos started out in 1957 with the Dan Duryea film noir, THE BURGLAR. He followed this with THE CASE AGAINST BROOKLYN and several of the GIDGET movies before switching to television work.
With only a 74 minute run time, this entertaining television work moves along at a decent pace.
The Underworld Story (1950)
Good Duryea Bit
THE UNDERWORLD STORY 1950
A rather unseen film, that deserves to be better known, particularly among noir fans.
Dan Duryea plays a reporter on a big city newspaper who gets himself blacklisted. He wrote a story that ended up getting a Police witness deep-sixed. He is more or less persona non grata with any big town newspapers. He borrows some cash and buys a half interest in a small New England paper ran by Gale Storm.
For Duryea, it is perfect timing. A murder has happened in town, and it involves the daughter in law of big time newspaper owner, Herbert Marshall. Duryea dives in looking to make a big financial score by selling the deal before the wire services do.
Duryea, a less than "upright" newsman makes like a salesman as he wheels and deals the story. His new partner, Gale Storm is not in the least impressed with Duryea.
The audience knows right off the bat who the killer is. It is the dead woman's husband, Gar Moore. The Police though, are looking for the dead woman's Negro maid, Mary Anderson. And she looks guilty as hell as she had been in the city selling the dead woman's jewels.
Duryea sees an even bigger chance at a money making story. He starts up a defence fund for the maid. He hires a lawyer who agrees to split the fund with Duryea. Needless to say some roadblocks pop up for Duryea and his schemes.
This is a very entertaining film, with cast and crew all excellent. The direction of Cy Endfield is spot on. Endfield's work includes, THE SOUND OF FURY, HELL DRIVERS, MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, ZULU and SANDS OF THE KALAHARI. The look of the film is equally good with Stanley Cortez handling the cinematography duties.
Well worth a watch.