Would-be noir, well cast but otherwise insubstantial...
Policeman's daughter, out on Lovers' Loop late one night with her secret boyfriend, is kidnapped by a somewhat simple-minded behemoth with a mommy-complex. Curiously old-fashioned and corny bit of police business masquerading as a gritty noir (and advertised as a juvenile delinquent flick: "18...A nice girl...How did she fall so far?"). As the lonely, tormented abductor, Raymond Burr actually manages a thoughtful performance, however this case is wrapped up so quickly (with the movie clocking in at a scant 75 minutes) that neither Burr nor victim Natalie Wood has a chance at carving out a three-dimensional character. Wood, who faints from a slap across the face, is made to be the stereotypical weak female, while over-protective father Edmond O'Brien and police captain Brian Donlevy overact mercilessly. Poor screenplay, by David Dortort--adapting a book by Whit Masterson, the uncredited "All Through the Night"--doesn't seem to know much about police procedures or personalities, and the sequences set at the station are hopelessly mediocre (what with an eyeball-rolling desk sergeant and a hilariously overeager police psychiatrist). Though distributed by Warner Bros., this doesn't have the solid production values usually associated with the studio; it feels cheap and under-populated, like an early episode of "Dragnet", with only Burr's forceful work and a decent climax putting it above typical television fare. ** from ****
- Apr 16, 2009
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