New York gambling house operator Johnny O'Clock is junior partner in a posh casino with Guido Marchettis and Chuck Blayden, a crooked cop. But Blayden is trying to cut into the casino's profits and warns Johnny not to interfere with his intention of becoming Marchettis' full partner. Blayden ends his relationship with coat check girl Harriet Hobson, then disappears. Later, Harriet is found dead in her apartment, apparently from suicide. Police Inspector Koch begins an investigation.He questions Johnny, Harriet's sister Nancy, who is infatuated with Johnny, and Johnny's associate, Charlie. When Blayden's body turns up in a nearby river, and when it is learned that Harriet death wasn't suicide but murder by poison, Johnny and Marchettis become prime suspects in both cases.To make matters worse, Pete Marchettis discovers that his wife Nelle may be having an affair with Johnny. Out of jealousy, he sends hired gunmen to kill Johnny in a drive-by shooting while Johnny is driving Nancy to the airport. Johnny, now certain that Marchettis has betrayed him, goes to the casino to end their business partnership. —nufs68
An entertaining piece of noir fluff--great cast, clothes and dialog.
This glamorous post-war crime story has a protagonist who carefully walks that fine line between cops and crooks. In fact--that seems to be almost a requirement in the best noir flicks. Dick Powell is Johnny O'Clock, a smooth operator with an eye for getting himself the best of whatever's going around. Is he selfish down to the core, or is there a lingering speck of humanity in there somewhere? O'Clock is a partner in a swank gambling house, and when the hat-check girl is found murdered, he gets involved with crooked cops and more crooked criminals. A great supporting cast and nice 'behind the scenes at the casino' feel add to the fun. Powell played a similar role in Murder My Sweet, but his Phillip Marlowe was more the wise-cracking smart-Alec, while Johnny O'Clock is decidedly more shady. A real treat.
- Dec 29, 2004
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