G-Man Chick Gardner, posing as a taxi driver, convinces the members of a counterfeiting gang that he is on their side and is taken into the organization by Philip Strickland, the boss, over the objections of gang lieutenant Flash Dillon. Gardner meets Gilda Lee, a member of the gang, and learns of the planned smuggling of a load of counterfeit money at a remote wharf. He arranges with the Federal officers to foil the landing but their presence is detected and the gang escapes, with Gardner being wounded in the mêlée by his own men. Dillon discovers Gardner's true identity and tells Gilda to take him for a ride. Instead, she helps Gardner kill Dillon, in return for which he promises her immunity. She goes with Strickland to the yacht of John Rudd, who is the secret leader of the counterfeiters. Gardner and the federal agents follow her.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Two interesting Fox 1937 "B" movies, both starring Brian Donlevy as a cab-driver, are available on a VintageFilmBuff DVD. The better of the two is Midnight Taxi, which has the advantage of a superior support cast in Alan Dinehart at his most menacingly stylish; Harold Huber sans ridiculous accent in one of his most convincing performances (yes, he does overact in one scene, but in that little bit he's supposed to be putting on an act); Gilbert Roland, who makes a surprisingly effective heavy; Sig Rumann, chillingly underplaying his unforgettable entrance; and Frances Drake as our charmingly crooked heroine. I was surprised to note the names Lon Chaney Jr, and Regis Toomey in the end credits. I hadn't noticed them at all, so I ran the movie again. They both play treasury men and in their scenes they are completely shaded by James Flavin and Norman Willis who enjoy just about all the dialogue, plus all the close-ups and all the action. Production values are remarkably high for a "B", and director Eugene Forde has taken advantage of this largess to snap up the pace and super-charge the action. Strikingly moody noirish photography from Barney McGill also helps. John Patrick and Lou Breslow take credit for the snappy script which also supplies some wonderfully vivid dialogue for masterful but little-known players like Harry Semels as the sleazy café proprietor who just manages to beat the rap.
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