Jimmy idolizes bootlegger Matt, and when he refuses to implicate his friend, he is sent to reform school. He befriends Shorty, a boy with a heart condition, and escapes to let the world know about the brutal conditions.
After killing her treacherous step-father, a girl tries to escape the country with a young vagabond. She dresses as a boy, they hop freight trains, quarrel with a group of hobos, and steal ... See full summary »
William A. Wellman
Looks like Paramount decided to make a version of The Maltese Falcon (1941), in Vista Vision, no less. Frankly, I would have preferred good old b&w for the noir material, but then who's going to leave their new-fangled 1955 TV for more b&w. The plot may be familiar— a ruthless spider woman tricks a fall guy for insurance money– but it's still slickly done. Then too, Payne grimaces appropriately as schemes unfold around him, while Murphy looks the part of a deadly bon-bon. Still, she lacks that inner spider dimension that Mary Astor revealed so tellingly in the original. And what about ex-wrestler Sandor Szabo as what else but a gruesome thug.
I had trouble following all the twists and turns of who did what to whom, but I guess it all got explained in the wrap. Too bad production didn't work in more raw evil since director Karlson can really make you feel it. No this is no Phenix City Story (1955) or Kansas City Confidential (1952), the culmination of Karlson's career, at least in my little book. But the results are still engaging, thanks to Payne, a sensually recumbent Murphy, and a fat guy not named Sydney Greenstreet.
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