A serial killer has been killing beautiful women in New York and the new owner of a media company offers a high ranking job to the first of his senior executives who can get the earliest scoops on the case.
Bedridden Amos Kyne is the owner and manager of Kyne Enterprises. Upon Amos' death, his son, the ineffectual and disliked Walter Kyne, takes control of the business. Not wanting to do any of the work but retain the glory, Walter creates a new position, "executive director", who effectively will become head of the organization, and a power struggle erupts between the executives. Meanwhile, a serial killer is on a rampage in New York City, and women fear for their lives. Reporter Ed Mobley tries to catch the killer and to prevent Kyne Enterprises from being destroyed over boardroom intrigues. A surprise "dark horse" wins the "executive director" position.Written by
Huggo (updated by Rms125a@hotmail.com)
The "K" logo for the Kyne Enterprise looks extremely similar to the "K" representing Charles Foster Kane's Xanadu palace in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, both produced by RKO Pictures. At around this time, the late 1950s, Kane was considered (and would continue to be considered) a classic, whereas a decade earlier it was a controversial box office failure that nearly ruined RKO. In fact, Vincent Price plays a rich kid suddenly in charge of running a giant news service, which can also be part of the Kane homage. See more »
When Ed and Nancy are walking upstairs to her apartment, the shadow of the boom microphone can be seen following them on the wall above. See more »
[as he's holding Nancy tight in her apartment's doorway]
I should have a permit.
To kiss me?
Hmm... an explorer's permit.
Do explorers have to have permits?
They should have, especially when they're headed for uncharted territory.
[Nancy pushes away from Ed and glares at him]
Forgive me angel, I know not what I say.
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A few years earlier, RKO would have shaved the sub-plots and made the kind of tight little noir the studio was so good at. A decade earlier, cult director Lang would have shaved the sub-plots and made the kind of nifty study in perverse psychology he was so good at. But this is 1956 and TV is replacing the B-movie. So a budget studio like RKO is especially scrambling for a new formula. Unfortunately, what they come up with here is a sprawling story with a bunch of hard-to-follow subplots and a cast of aging stars for marquee appeal. The result is a turgid 100-plus minutes and, except for Andrews and Mitchell, a waste of some very fine actors.
Maybe you can follow the power plays going on among the eight or so cast principals. After a while, I gave up. Folks interested in newspaper stories might find the movie worthwhile. To me, however, the various machinations come across as little more than glorified soap opera in dull shades of gray. The movie does come to life when Lipstick Killer Barrymore Jr. comes on screen and the palaver pauses for a refreshing few minutes. Too bad, the screenplay didn't allow Lang to focus more on one of his specialties, the killer's interesting mental state. But then, the script had to multiply the sub-plots and the superfluous scenes so as to accommodate the various star cameos they were paying for.
There may be a good story buried somewhere in the pottage, and there are some snappy lines, but the overall result lumbers along, Lang or no Lang. Speaking of censorship, the curvaceous Fleming's various poses and sexy calisthenics, along with the script's smirking innuendo, typifies how the industry was reacting to the challenge of TV despite Production Code constraints, and definitely dates the production to that era. In passing—is it my imagination or does the circle-K logo of Kyne enterprises duplicate the logo for Kane's publishing empire in the much superior Citizen Kane (1940), and if so, what would be the point? Also, "kine" is an archaic term for cows, just as "swine" is for pigs. Was that intentional, and if so, what would be the point of that? Anyway, the movie shows clearly RKO's floundering efforts during a period of general studio decline.
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