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The French Key (1946)

Approved | | Mystery, Thriller | 18 May 1946 (USA)
Private detective Johnny Fletcher and his sidekick Sam Cragg skip out on their rented room, but when they sneak back to retrieve their luggage, they discover a dead body on the bed, holding... See full summary »


Walter Colmes


Frank Gruber (screenplay), Frank Gruber (based on novel by)




Cast overview:
Albert Dekker ... Johnny Fletcher
Mike Mazurki ... Sam Cragg
Evelyn Ankers ... Janet Morgan
John Eldredge ... John Holterman
Frank Fenton ... Horatio Vedder
Selmer Jackson ... Walter Winslow
Byron Foulger ... Peabody
Joe DeRita ... Detective Fox
Marjorie Manners ... Betty Winslow
David Gorcey ... Eddie Miller
Archie Twitchell ... Murdock (as Michael Branden)
Sammy Stein ... Percy
Alan Ward Alan Ward ... Madigan
Walter Soderling ... George Polson
Emmett Vogan Emmett Vogan ... Desk Clerk
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Private detective Johnny Fletcher and his sidekick Sam Cragg skip out on their rented room, but when they sneak back to retrieve their luggage, they discover a dead body on the bed, holding a gold coin in its hand. Fletcher is told by a coin collector that the piece is an old and valuable Spanish coin, but Fletcher soon begins to suspect that the man is himself involved in the murder. Fletcher's investigation leads to he and Sam getting caught up in a murder and gold smuggling scheme. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Mystery | Thriller


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User Reviews

French Key, Spanish Coins, Good American B entry
23 November 2007 | by Mike-764See all my reviews

Johnny Fletcher and Sam Cragg have skipped on their board bill and try to sneak into their room to get their trunks, when they find a corpse on their bed clutching an old Spanish coin. Fletcher being a pseudo-detective learns the nature of the coin from a numismatist named Vedder, but learns that he is mixed up some way with the murder. Apparently the murdered man was mixed up with a gold smuggling outfit where the coins were actually stolen gold forged into the rare coins. However Fletcher has to find out the murderer and how & where the stolen gold is located. This is a very enjoyable B mystery aided especially but the witty dialogue by Frank Gruber, who also wrote the novel the story is based on. Its a shame however that Republic didn't decide to continue the series. Dekker and Mazurki are obviously enjoying themselves in the picture and Dekker does add a somewhat sophisticated touch to what could have been an ordinary urbane role. The movie does move nicely but the end Dekker's character does seem to change to a more hardboiled sleuth than the fly by the seat of his pants character he was. A good B-repertoire cast (Ankers, Foulger especially) make this an enjoyable hour plus. Rating, 8.

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Release Date:

18 May 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The French Key See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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