After FBI Agent Zack Stewart is killed, Agent John Ripley takes over the three cases he was working on, hoping one will lead to his killer. The first involves gangster Joe Walpo and Ripley finds his hideout through Joe's girl friend, Connie Anderson. Joe is killed but it is established he was 400 miles away when Stewart was murdered. The next involves a car-theft gang which Ripley breaks up by using one of the gang, Vince Angelino and his wife Julie. The last case involves Kate Martell, the victim of an extortionist who threatens to kidnap her child unless she pays him $10,000.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
All of the principal players drive 1954 model automobiles; FBI agent RIpley's is a 1954 Nash, Kate Martell's is a 1954 Chevrolet, and Joe Walpo's is a 1954 Cadillac; although not inappropriate to the time or the characters involved, this may also be a nod to keeping the film looking as "up to date" as possible in light of prolonged theatrical engagements and its inevitable release for television broadcast. See more »
I enjoyed this early 1950s crime/drama and appreciate the nice job TCM did in restoring the print. The transfer looked outstanding; sharp with excellent contrast. The movie features some fine photography and lighting.
This was one of those semi-documentaries popular among crime stories in the late '40s/early '50s. It usually plugged one of the U.S. law enforcement agencies. Here, it was the FBI and we followed a couple of agents as they tried to tie in several cases in the Los Angeles area. Sometimes these movies were labeled "crime dramas" and sometimes "film noirs." This movie contains a lot of both elements.
Along the way, we see a lot of familiar faces, especially if you grew up watching a lot of television in the '50s and '60s. You may not know all the names, but you'll know the faces.
Names you probably know, however, are Broderick Crawford, Ruth Roman and Martha Hyer. There are three of the half-dozen or so actor who all play a significant part of this story.
Crawford is an FBI agent and lower-key one than you might expect. He's not the gruff lawman of "Highway Patrol" or the loudmouth politician of "All The King's Men." Here, he's gentle with people all the while being an effective FBI guy.
Ruth Roman, as "Kate Martel." plays one of several key female roles, as either crime victim or gangster-girlfriend. Ruth plays a role similar to one Lee Remick played in about 10 years later in a film called "Experiment In Terror." Marilyn Monroe-wannabe Martha Hyer is a hoot as a sexy blonde playing a thug's girlfriend, or should I say "moll." She has some great lines, calling the cops "you dirty crumbs" and the like. Her character is pure film noir.
Marisa Pavan is interesting as the blind "Julie Angelino" and so is a young Claude Akins as a boxer-criminal. Jay Adler, Kenneth Tobey and others all have those familiar TV faces.
Movie buffs will get a kick out of the climactic scene, which takes place at the foot of the "Hollywood" sign on top of a hill. That nostalgia, along with the very cool automobiles of the period, make this a good trip down "memory lane."
Unfortunately, this is one of those classic movies that never made it to VHS or DVD. Hopefully, someone will put it in a DVD classics box-set some day. It's a good film and deserves a DVD of its own.
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