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The People Against O'Hara (1951)
Was it Mr. Dillon What Done it?
"The People Against O'Hara" brings together two veteran performers and personal friend Spencer Tracy and Pat O'Brien and neither is the "O'Hara" of the title. And, it was an early effort from director John Sturges.
One dark and dreary night a man is shot down on the steps of his home. A Swedish seaman Sven Norson (J.C. Flippen - complete with Swedish accent) witnesses the crime but does not immediately come forth. Finger prints identify Frank Korvac (William Campbell) as one of the felons. He in turn names Johnny O'Hara (James Arness) as his accomplice. O'Hara had been with Katrina Langzetti (Yvette Duguay) the wife of a local mobster "Knuckles" Langzetti (Eduardo Ciannelli) at the time. O'Hara is attested by Detective Vincent Ricks (O'Brien) and charged with the murder. Fearful of reprisal from the mobster, O'Hara is fearful of implicating his lover.
O'Hara's parents (Arthur Shields, Louise Lorimer) go to lawyer James Curtayne (Tracy) for help. Curtayne is a recovering alcoholic who has left criminal law to practice civil law due to his drinking problem. The O'Haras plead with him to take the case and reluctantly agrees. District Attorney Louis Barra (John Hodiak) will prosecute the case. Although Curtayne believes Johnny to be innocent, he feels that the boy is withholding something from him.
In the court room Curtayne begins the trial full of confidence. However, due to a lying witness, Korvac and an un-cooperating client he begins to lose his confidence having lapses in memory and using poor judgement in his defense. Sven Norson has been identified as an eye witness to the crime and plays the two lawyers against each other in attempt to gain payment for his testimony. Curtayne makes the mistake of paying Sven $500 for his testimony but the swede double crosses him on the stand. A disgraced Curtayne loses the case and returns to the bottle.
Curtayne's daughter Ginny (Diana Lynn) has been looking out for her father during his struggles. When he discovers O'Hara's relationship with Katrina he vows to prove that some one other than Johnny committed the murder. The police, D.A. and Curtayne set up an elaborate plan to have the real killer reveal himself but...............................................................................................................
I'm not sure but I think that this was Tracy and O'Brien's only film together. Iy was sure great to see them together being a big fan of both. Tracy is magnificent in the lead as always. O'Brien's role takes us back to the 30s when he was playing such roles at Warner Bros. Others in the cast include Henry O'Neill as the Judge, Ann Doran as a police woman, Emile Meyer as Capt. Mulvaney, Richard Anderson as Lynn's fiancé Jeff Chapman, Regis Toomey as a police monitor Richard Bartlett as Tony Korvac and from the blink or you'll miss him Dept., Charles Bronson as one of the Korvac brothers.
I guess that you could class this picture as a film noire as there are several night scenes but alas no femme fatale.
The Executioner (1970)
Peppard as a Brit?
"The Executioner" is yet another spy drama with George Peppard donning the trench coat. He is supposed to be a British national who left England at an earlier age and was raised in the USA before returning to serve his country. This explains, if you will, his American accent.
Peppard plays John Shay who has detected a "leak" at the top echelons of British Intelligence. He suspects fellow agent Adam Booth (Keith Mitchell) as being the culprit and sets out to prove it. Booth is marries to Shay's former lover Sarah Booth (Joan Collins) while shay is in a relationship with the pert young Polly Bendel (Judy Geeson).
Shay pleads with his superiors, Vaughn Jones (Charles Gray) and Colonel Scott (Nigel Patrick) even to the point of forcing an inquiry into the matter. The inquiry vindicates Booth but Shay carries on. He travels to Greece and Turkey to gain evidence. He meets Russian defector Racovsky (Oskar Homolka) at the American Embassy in Greece who gives him the impression that Booth is indeed a double agent.
One night, back in England, Shay is awakened by a phone call from his friend Philip Crawford (George Baker) who tells him that he has discovered Booth going through secret documents on his desk. Crawford you see, is also enamored by the beautiful Sarah. Shay, now having no doubt about Boot's guilt takes him into the countryside and kills him.
Later Shay goes to Turkey in place of Booth who was supposed to go. He travels with Sarah was to accompany her husband. In Turkey Shay is taken by the Russians who inform Shay that Booth was not their agent and that they were intending to rub him out. Shay is devastated that he has killed an innocent man. The Russians have also taken Sarah prisoner and want to exchange her for Crawford who is a scientist working on the Space Program on behalf of the Americans.
As the exchange is taking place................................................................................
The all British cast, except for Peppard. is excellent as always. Collins is as beautiful as ever and Geeson is a little flighty as Shay's current squeeze. Character actors Gray and Patrick stand out as Shay's superiors as does Mitchell as Booth. Homolka does what he can with what amounts to a cameo role.
And oh yes, wait for the surprise ending.
Ben Casey: Secret Agent?
"Hammerhead" is a real stinker. In the era of superspies this one doesn't fare well. To begin with the producers cast a rather dull expressionless Vince Edwards in the lead role of Charles Hood. Edwards had made his name playing Dr. Ben Casey on TV. The co-starred him with a rather loopy Judy Geeson as a 60s type hippie with a high pitched (and annoying) voice. Wait for the night club sequence where she suddenly bursts into a Shirley Bassey type song.
The "plot" has agent Hood trying to contact an international crook known as Hammerhead (Peter Vaughn) who is suspected of trying to steal NATO defense secrets. As a cover, Hood is bringing pornographic materials to Hammerhead for sale. You see Hammerhead collects such things. We are treated to his collection of semi-pornographic art from world famed artists. (Best part of the picture).
Anyway, Hood meets Hammerhead aboard his yacht. Interesting enough Hammerhead has hooked up with, you guessed it, Sweet Sue. Go figure. How would a worldly man such as Hammerhead hook up with such an airhead in the first place. Hammerhead goes ashore to arrange the theft of the aforementioned NATO secrets through a switching of identities between a Sir Richard and an impressionist named Andrews (both played by Michael Bates).
Hood of course, pursues Hammerhead. In a nightclub he sees Andrews and we meet the charming Kit (Diana Dors) who it turns out is another of Hammerhead's "ladies". It's here that we see Sue suddenly emerge as a musical songstress with a deep voice. The documents are stolen and Hammerhead flees but......................................................................
Others in the cast are Beverly Adams as Ivory who tries to seduce Hood aboard the yacht and Patrick Cargill as Condor, Hood's superior. The opening sequence has to be seen to be believed. The finale is equally over the top.
A Dandy in Aspic (1968)
Complex Spy Drama!
"A Dandy in Aspic" is another of those 60s cold war spy vs. spy stories. It's notable as being Director Anthony Mann's final film as he died during the filming.
Three British agents have been murdered by an Russian assassin known as Krasnevin. Alexander Eberlin (Lawrence Harvey) who in reality IS Krasnevin longs to return to Moscow. Things get complicated when boss spy Fraser (Harry Andrews) assigns Eberlin the task of taking out Krasnevin. Fraser assigns Gattis (Tom Courtenay) to assist Eberlin in his task. In the meantime Eberlin has met the young Caroline (Mia Farrow) with whom he takes an interest.
Fraser has identified Eberlin's Russian contact Pavel as Krasnevin. Eberlin goes to Pavel's apartment with the intent to kill him but cannot. As he leaves the drug addicted Pavel behind, Pavel is taken by unknown assailants. He is later found dead and is proven not to be Krasnevin. Later in Germany, Eberlin attempts to cross over to East Berlin but is refused entry. The Russians believe that he is more valuable in England. Caroline pops up with her assistant Nevil (Richard O'Sullivan) in Germany. Eberlin and Caroline begin an affair when she throws herself into his arms. Eberlin is suspicious.
Gattis is impatient for Eberlin to complete his task. Prentiss (Peter Cook) is also working the case. Eberlin is forced to shoot a mousey Russian operative Henderson (John Bird) to avoid detection. Gatiss goes to meet Russian spy chief Sebakevitch (Lionel Stander) to negotiate a price for giving over Krasnevin.
Sebakevitch identifies British Agent Copperfield (Norman Bird) as Krasneviin however Gattis and Eberlin find Copperfield murdered in a photo booth. Gattis exacts his revenge by shooting the Russian at a car race during a crash of the racers. Prentiss advises Eberlin that the British were responsible for killing Pavel and that they knew that Eberlin was Krasnevin all along.
As he is about to board a flight back to England, Eberlin sees Gattis in the distance and...................................................................................
Harvey plays the lead character as a snobbish arrogant character with little emotion. Why Mia Farrow's character was popping up all over without any reason is mystifying.
Confusing and complicated beyond necessity.
I Mobster (1959)
Bargain Basement Gangster Film!
"I Mobster" was bottom of the barrel gangster film starring fading actor Steve Cochran and directed by Roger Corman. The ever cost conscious Corman Brothers followed their pattern of hiring largely over the hill actors to play in their films. .This one is no exception.
Cochran plays Joe Sante who is an ambitious wannabe gangster. We follow his rise from a street wise 12 year old through his teen age years to adulthood. With the exception of the 12 year old, Cochran plays each stage of his life looking the same 40 year old actor. His parents, his long suffering mother (Celia Lovsky) who begs him to live a normal life and his father (John Mylong) who despises his life style look to be way too old to play the young Sante's parents. In spite of all of this, Joe rises within the mob to become the boss of his former mentor Black Frankie Udino (Robert Strauss).
Joe is attracted to the virginal Teresa Porter (Lita Milan) who also tries to reform him. Her brother Ernie (John Brinkley) is given a job by Joe but takes to the high life and drugs. Joe is forced to kill the rebellious Ernie during a confrontation. Joe gains the approval of mob boss Paul Moran (Grant Withers - in his final film) and becomes a big man. Teresa, distraught over her brother's death, throws up her hands and becomes Joe's moll.
Frankie tells Joe that Moran has put out a hit on him and that he has been given the job. Frankie advises Joe to hit Moran first...which he does. Later, when Joe is called before a bargain basement Congressional committee, the mob bosses become nervous. Joe and Teresa try to flee but are cornered by "Cherry Nose" Sirago, a rival since boyhood and are unable to escape. Returning to his apartment he meets Frankie who had supposedly set up Joe's escape and....................................................
Lili St. Cyr who was a famous stripper in the 50s gives a "G" rated performance during a nightclub scene. It was hard to get a sense of a large criminal syndicate from this film or of Joe's meteoric rise to power. I guess that was due to the limited budget. Steve Cochran's career was on the decline mostly because of his high living and womanizing but turns in a creditable performance nonetheless. Lita Milan's thick accent gets in the way of her performance. Robert Strauss steals the picture in my opinion, as the life long gangster Frankie.
Too many holes in the story.
Let 'em Have It (1935)
Typical FBI (oops) G-Man Drama!
"Let 'em Have It" is a mis-titled story of the training and exploits of three Department of Justice (not FBI..J.Edgar must have not given his approval) Investigation Branch agents: Mal Stevens (Richard Arlen), Van Remessler (Harvey Stephens) and Tex Logan (Gordon Jones). Eleanor Spencer, a socialite, is an acquaintance of Van who introduces her to Mal at a party. Val takes an interest. Of course, it doesn't matter that Eleanor is filthy rich and has a loopy Aunt Ethel (Alice Brady) as well.
The Spencer family chauffeur Joe Keefer (Bruce Cabot) laments to his parents (J. Farrell MacDonald, Bodil Rosing), about his station in life and that he plans to be rich like the Spencer's some day. Keefer engineers a kidnap attempt of Eleanor but it is foiled by the G-Men. Keefer is jailed for his part in the crime. He later escapes and forms a gang with the likes of Harry Woods and Paul Fix, that terrorizes the country with a series of bank hold-ups.
Meanwhile, Eleanor's brother Buddy (Eric Linder) joins the G-men much to the dismay of Eleanor. Buddy trails Keefer's moll Lola (Dorothy Appleby) to a rooming house where the gang is hiding out, unbeknownst to him. The green rookie Buddy is caught by Keefer and murdered. The gang then flees to a rural hide-out.
Keefer attempts to have his facial features altered by a plastic surgeon after which the surgeon id killed. He has the last laugh when upon removing the facial bandages, Keefer discovers the wily old doctor had etched Keefers initials on his face. The feds manage to capture Lola and fool her into revealing the location of the gang's hide out.
The G-men close in on Keefer and his gang and...............................................
A period piece to be sure and not unlike James Cagney's "G-Men" released the same year. Arlen was no Cagney giving a wooden performance as the chief agent. I was surprised to Gordon Jones in the picture. I didn't think his career went back that far. He couldn't have been more than in his early twenties at the time.
Film Noire at It's Best!
With the release of "T-Men", Hollywood began to notice the considerable talents of Director Anthony Mann. The dark foreboding black & white photography created an atmosphere of intrigue and danger. The film shot in a semi-documentary style and is expertly narrated by actor Reed Hadley
Two federal Treasury Agents (T-Men), Dennis O'Brien (Dennis O'Keefe) and Tony Genero (Alfred Ryder) are assigned by Chief Carson (Herbert Hayes) to infiltrate a gang of counterfeiters and bring them to justice. The pair transform themselves into gangsters with O'Brien becoming Vannie Harrigan and Genero, Tony Galvani. They go to Detroit where they gain the confidence of local mobsters. They learn the name of "The Schemer" who might be a link to the counterfeiting operation.
"Harrigan" flies to Los Angeles and locates "The Schemer" (Wallace Ford), follows him and makes contact after passing a phony bill to a nightclub photographer (Mary Mead) who advises "The Schemer".. The Schemer brings "Harrigan" to higher ups. They question his commitment and ask to examine the printer's plates (supplied by Treasury). He ultimately meets Diana Simpson (Jane Randolph) the cold as ice 2nd in command.
She sees "The Schemer" as a weak link and orders him killed by hit man Moxie (Charles McGraw). He does the deed by killing the hapless Schemer in a Turkish Steam Bath. Meanwhile, "Galvani" accidently runs into his wife Mary (June Lockhart) and tries to ignore her. This, however arouses suspicion since "Galvani" was supposed to be not married. Moxie shoots him down in front of "Harrigan" who is helpless to intervene.
Warned by HQ to grab the plates and run, "Harrigan" is forced into a meeting with the boss (whom we never actually meet). Paul Miller (William Malten) is called in to authenticate the plates that "Harrigan" has. However, Miller backs up "Harrigan's" claim to gain favor with the Treasury but is shot down by Moxie and..............................................................................................
Classic Film Noire!
Everyman Insurance Agent Gets Into Trouble!
"Pitfall" is a neat little independently produced film noir about an ordinary man who gets embroiled with a femme fatale out side of his marriage.
Insurance man John Forbes (dick Powell) is bored with his daily routine marriage and work. Private Investigator J.B. (Mac)MacDonald (Raymond Burr) working for Forbe's company, is trying to find funds embezzled from a company that is insured by Forbes' company. He has also discovered a wily blonde seductress Mona Stevens (Lizabeth Scott) with whom he has taken a fanatical interest.
Forbes decides to go to Mona's home to recover the gifts her jailed boyfriend (Bill Smiley (Byron Barr) had given her with the stolen money. Mona in true noir fashion, seduces Forbes and the two begin a brief affair. Unfortunately, Mac doesn't take to kindly to this and threatens Forbes. Mona, meanwhile tells Forbes that Mac has been harassing her so he takes action and beats up Mac.
Feeling guilty, Mona decides to end the relationship with Forbes who reluctantly returns to his wife Sue (Jane Wyatt) and their young son Tommy (Jimmy Hunt). But Mac is not ready to give up that easily. He visits Smiley in jail and fills his head with tales of Mona's "sordid" affair with Forbes. Smiley becomes enraged. Mac now feels that he has cleared the way for his own ends but....
When Smiley is released from jail, he goes gunning for Forbes who is forced to taken drastic action and.......................................................................................
Lizabeth Scott makes an excellent seductress having three men under her spell. Powell, playing against type, as an adulterer, is good as an ordinary man caught up in his own indiscretion. Also in the cast are veterans John Litel as the D.A., Ann Doran as Forbes' secretary and Dick Wessel as a Desk Sgt.
Classic film noire.
Please Murder Me! (1956)
Jessica Fletcher: Femme Fatale!
"Please Murder Me" is noteworthy for having two future TV icons in the leads. Angela Lansbury's movie career was in decline at this time however, she became a bigger star than ever as the busy body detective Jessica Fletcher in the long running "Murder She Wrote" TV series. Similarly, Raymond Burr had been languishing along playing overweight villains in a series of "B" movies. He was on the cusp of taking on the role of TV's "Perry Mason" in that long running TV show.
With a tip of the hat to "Double Indemnity" (1944) our story starts off with lawyer Craig Carlson (Burr) dictating into a tape recorder, the events leading up to this moment. In flashback, Carlson confesses his love for the wife of his best friend/war buddy Joe Leeds (Dick Foran) much to the latter's shock.
Later in Leeds' office, Joe gives a letter to co-worker Lou Kazariian (Robert Griffin) to be mailed. However he forgets to mail the letter which he brings to Carlson's attention later in the story. Leeds, distraught, goes to his adulterous wife Myra (Lansbury) to try and work things out. Behind closed doors, a shot rings out and Joe Leeds winds up dead. Myra claims self defense but Police Detective Lt. Bradley (Denver Pyle) thinks otherwise. Myra is charged with murder by District Attorney Ray Willis (John Dehner) who will prosecute the case.
With Carlson defending her, he gains an acquittal in a "Perry Mason" type defense. Carlson plans to marry Myra and run off on an extended honeymoon. When Lou Kazarian brings Carlson the un mailed letter, Carlson learns the Myra has been playing him along so that she can run off with artist Carl Holt (Lamont Johnson). Carlson learns that Myra has used him to her own ends and devises an elaborate scheme to trap Myra into revealing herself as a murderer. He will arrange for Myra to murder him.
Carlson lures Myra to his office as well as D.A. Willis (unbeknownst to Myra) and...............................................................................
A fetching little film noir with similar plot line to "Double Indemnity". The performances of Lansbury and Burr raise this little drama to a higher level.
The Outriders (1950)
There's Gold in Them That Wagons!
"The Outriders" takes place near the close of the American Civil War. Three Confederate prisoners (with long scruffy beards), Will Owen (Joel McCrea), Jesse Wallace (Barry Sullivan) and Clint priest (James Whitmore) escape custody and flee. Wallace gleefully stabs to death a young Union soldier (William Phipps) on sentry duty. You have to know which member of the reb trio is going to cause trouble down the road.
The three rebels come upon a gang of Quantrill supporters led by Keeley (Jeff Corey) and Bye (Ted DeCorsia). Keely tells them of an upcoming Gold shipment from Mexico bound for the Union army at St. Louis Missouri. The Gold is supposed to be delivered to the confederacy but unbeknownst to Owen, Kelley and his gang plan to keep the loot for themselves.
The wagon train with the Gold concealed within is led by Don Antonio Chaves (Ramon Navarro). It is to travel 800 miles from El Paso Texas to St. Louis. Owen, Wallace and Priest are to join up with the train as outriders or protectors. Along for the ride are the beautiful Jen Gert (Arlene Dahl) and her nephew Roy (Claude Jarman Jr.). Owen takes a shine to Jen which leads him to change his view of their purpose to guide the train into an ambush. Wallace however, still plans to deliver the train to the raiders.
The romance between Owens and Jen continues to grow. During a perilous river crossing, young Roy drowns devastating Jen. With the train nearing the ambush point, Owen takes Wallace prisoner and plans to make a stand against Keeley and his gang. But Wallace escapes and......................................................
A great cast raises the level of this movie. McCrea as always is the pillar of strength. Dahl with her fiery red hair was never so beautiful. Sullivan plays against type as the main villain. Whitmore doesn't have enough to do as the grizzled Priest. Silent screen idol Navarro hardly looks as he once did but delivers a good performance anyway. Martin Garralaga as the ill Father Damasco is also good. One of my favorite bad guys Ted DeCorsia doesn't get enough to do with Jeff Corey playing the gang leader.
You've got to see McCrea, Sullivan and Whitmore with those long scruffy beards in the opening sequence. They look hilarious.
Woman on the Run (1950)
Gripping Little Film Noir!
"Woman On the Run" is really about a man on the run in this independently produced gem filmed for the most part, in San Francisco.
A man walking his dog late at night witnesses a brutal murder. The man Frank Johnson (Ross Elliott) is seen by the murderer who takes a couple of shots at him. The police are called and Inspector Ferris (Robert Keith) and Detective Shaw (Frank Jenks) are on the case. After questioning Johnson he manages to slip away and go into hiding.
Johnson's wife Eleanor (Ann Sheridan) is also questioned and gives the impression that she doesn't much care what happens to her husband. She is placed under police guard but manages to slip out a roof top window into the arms of waiting reporter Dan Leggett (Dennis O'Keefe) who offers to help her find her missing husband.
They go to some of Frank's favorite haunts including a night club where Sam (Victor Sen Young) and his partner Suzie (Rako Sato) are performing. They also visit his favorite bar where Eleanor discovers that maybe her husband really does love her. In the meantime dancer Suzie is unexpectedly murdered unbeknownst to Eleanor at the time. Through a letter that Frank has sent to her (in code), Eleanor figures out that Frank is hiding out at an amusement par. With the cops constantly following her, she and Legget manage to elude them and eventually find Frank on the pier. Legget offers to meet Frank alone to "get his story" and..............................................................................................
Ann Sheridan nearing the end of her career, gives a great performance here. Dennis O'Keefe as the wise cracking reporter is equally good. Robert Keith as the cop almost steals the picture.
Film Noir at it's finest.
The Deadly Affair (1967)
Cold War Spy vs. Spy!
"The Deadly Affair" was another of those 1960s cold war spy stories. It was produced/directed by Sidney Lumet with Quincy Jones doing the music. In this one, the character's names had to be changed because another studio had the rights to John Le Carre's character names, For example George Smiley becomes Charles Dobbs and so on.
The British Home Office receives an anonomous letter accusing senior Foreign Office official Samuel Fennan (Robert Flemying) of having been a communist in the 1930s while a student at Oxford. Agent Charles Dobbs (James Mason) is assigned to interview him to see if there is any truth to the letter. The interview, held in a park, goes well and Dobbs is prepared to clear Fenan's name.
During the night Dobbs is awakened with the news that Fenan has committed suicide. Dobbs' superiors agree with the police's suicide theory and want to close the file on the case. But Dobbs has doubts that the pleasant and cooperative Fenan committed suicide so soon after their meeting.
At home, we meet Dobbs nymphomaniac wife Ann (Harriet Andersson) whom Dobbs loves in spite of all her shortcomings. One day Dobbs arrives home to find an old war collaborator Dieter Frey (Maximillian Schell) in his living room. After pleasantries are exchanged, Dobbs comes to realize that his wife is seeing Frey on the side.
Dobbs resigns his position and plans to continue his investigation of Fenan's "suicide". He goes to see his widow Elsa (Simone Signoret) and learns little but comes to suspect her. Dobbs works with a retired Police Inspector Mendel (Harry Andrews) and a colleague Bill Appleby (Kenneth Haigh). Dobbs notices a car following him which is traced back to garage owner Adam Scarr (Roy Kinnear). It turns out that the car in question was rented to a large muscular man named "Blondie".
While Mendel is questioning Scarr in a local pub, Dobbs is mugged by Blondie and injured. Blondie flees when he is discovered by a hobo dragging Dobbs to an apparent death. Mendel works Scarr over. Blondie returns later and murders Scarr. Mendel, Dobbs and Appleby track Blondie to an office in a run down building. As they leave Blondie's body is discovered on the top of an elevator.
Dobbs discovers that Fenan in his role of a senior Foreign Officer had been bringing sensitive files home where his wife would take the information and forward it to her contact on the other side. Meanwhile Ann decides to run off to Zurich with Frey.
Dobbs, Mendel and Appleby decide to set a trap for Elsa Fenan to expose her contact. It works, the contact appears and...........................................................
A stellar cast. Mason is great as the middle aged British spy with the unfaithful wife. Harry Andrews stands out as the private investigator. Andersson as the unfaithful wife and Schell as her lover play important roles. Lynn and Corin Redgrave, in their only appearance together, appear in a theater sequence, she as a character called Virgin and he as the director of the play in question.
Man on a String (1960)
Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy!
"Man On a String" is another of those cold war spy stories that were popular at the time. It's the story of Russian immigrant Boris Mitrov (Ernest Borgnine) who is now a successful American citizen working in the movie industry.
Mitrov has many contacts both within the Russian and American communities. Russian KGB Colonel Vladmir Kubelov (Alexander Scourby) sees that Mitrov could be useful to the USSR. Using the immigration of his father (Vladmir Sokoloff) as bait, he gets Mitrov to perform certain services for the Russians. Papa arrives in the USA and MItrov is pleased and pleads with Kubelov to bring his brothers over too. Kubelov stalls knowing that the brothers are dead but continues to use them as bait for Mitrov to ensure his services. The Russians install Adrian Benson (Ed Prentiss) as the head of Mitrov's studio as a ploy to force Mitrov into providing additional "services". His wife Helen (Coleen Dewhurst) is also a senior agent.
The Americans take notice and begin to watch Mitrov. They bring him in and grim faced agent Frank Sanford (Glenn Corbett) grills him and gets him to admit reluctantly working for the Russians. They convince Mitrov that it would be in his best interests to become a double agent and assign agent Bob Avery (Kerwin Mathews) to assist him.
Mitrov is sent to Berlin on the pretense that he is making a American sponsored documentary. He is soon sent to Moscow where he meets General Chapayev (Friedrich Joloff) a senior KGB officer. He is at first pleased with Mitrov's information but becomes suspicious when hidden surveillance equipment is discovered in Mitrov's American home. Mitrov is warned through a secret message that he is in danger. Together with Avery, Mitrov flees with Ruissian agents in pursuit and...................................................................
Ernest Borgnine is excellent as the double agent divided between two countries. Colleen Dewhurst in her second film stands out as the sinister Helen Benson. Scourby is good as the snake in the grass KGB Colonel and Corbett as the emotionless no nonsense agent is also good. Kerwin Mathews has little to do as Mitrov's allly.
The first three quarters of the film are slow moving but the finale is worth waiting for.
Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960)
A Total Mismatch!
As much as I am a fan of both Doris Day and David Niven, they just don't click together. It's hard to imagine Day as the mother of four bratty boys and Niven as a stuffy theater critic. There's just no chemistry here.
Laurence MacKay (Niven) is hired as a theater critic by a major New York newspaper. His first review is that of a play produced by family friend Alfred Worth (Richard Haydn) which he pans. He is also critical of the show's star Deborah Vaughn (Janis Paige). This angers North and upsets Deborah to the point that she slaps his face in public.
Meanwhile, wife Kate (Day) tries to console her husband while tending to their four sons in an apartment. Without warning the Mackays are told that they have to move out of their apartment in three weeks. This forces them to choose between a move to the country or remain in New York. The agree to move to the country where they have bought a large run down old house.
They decide to renovate the house but Larry is unable to concentrate on writing his new book amid all the noise. So Kate and Larry agree that Larry should move into a hotel temporarily so that he can finish his book. It turns out that Deborah has set her sights on Larry and begins to make a play for him.
Kate in the meantime, has joined a local theater group and begins rehearsing a play that was originally written by Larry but with out his permission. This leads to a riff between the couple that culminates with the typical "happily ever after" Hollywood ending.
This movie simply isn't as funny as it was meant to be. Day is having her boys, Charles Hebert, Stanley Livingston, Skip Ward and Baby Gellert, essentially raised by a housekeeper (Patsy Kelly). Baby Gellert is kept in a caged playpen. I wonder how that got past the censors. At the outset of the move to the country, Niven laments at having little money yet the huge house is completely renovated with nary a blink of an eye...and he can afford to live a lavish life style in New York at the same time to boot.
Doris Day gets to sing two songs in cluding the title track as well as, a verse of her signature hit "Que Sera Sera". Niven really doesn't get to display much of his comedic talents here and that's a shame. Spring Byington in her last film, plays Day's meddlesome mother and Jack Weston plays a taxi driver who wants Niven to read his play.
Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
The Last Gangster!
"Love Me or Leave Me" is a fictionalized account of 20s singer Ruth Etting's life. As was done for "Calamity Jane" two years earlier, Doris Day's performance was cleaned up for family audiences. Etting was apparently a hard living smoker who had a penchant for the bottle. James Cagney as Etting's "benefactor" gives a memorable performance in his last gangster role.
In the 1920s, small time Chicago gangster Marin "The Gimp" Snyder (Cagney) discovers Ruth Etting (Day) an aspiring singer working in a ten cents a dance dive. He is taken by her and offers to set her up on stage. He gets her a job as a chorus girl in a nightclub run by Frobisher (Tom Tully). With Snyder's help and that of his goon Georgie (Harry Bellaver), Ruth gets to sing in the club.
Snyder recognizing Ruth's talent "arranges" bookings in more prestigious night clubs. Meanwhile, Snyder wants to carry their relationship "further" but Ruth pushes him away. Ruth's accompaniest Johnny Alderman (Cameron Mitchell) becomes interested with her romantically but backs off because of Snyder. Then New York beckons.
Big time agent Bernard Loomis (Robert Keith) secures Ruth a new York booking which Snyder vetoes. Ruth continues to rise in popularity until she is offered a role in the Ziegfield Follies on Broadway. Snyder almost ruins her debut by interfering with the production. He goes so far as to break the jaw of Fred Taylor (Peter Leeds) when he tries to stop Snyder's interference.
Snyder ends up pulling Ruth out of the Follies and putting on a national tour where she becomes more popular than ever. Snyder and Ruth were marries in 1922 and remained so for 15 tumultuous years. Along the way Snyder and Ruth have several toe to toe arguments, which Day and Cagney carry off perfectly. Then Hollywood beckons. Ruth is re-united with Johnny in Hollywood and their romance is rekindled. By this time Snyder and Ruth are divorced but Snyder is still jealous of Johnny to the point that......................................................................
Doris Day sings a number of classic songs as only she could. Her dramatic scenes with Cagney should have garnered her an Academy Award nomination. Cagney was nominated. The character of Johnny Alderman was in reality Myrl Alderman whom Ruth married in 1938. This aspect of her life is only suggested at the end of the film.
A great film but beware of the typical "Hollywood Happy Ending".
Calamity Jane (1953)
Whip Crack Away................
"Calamity Jane" was a change for star Doris Day. Instead of the virginal girl next door types she usually played, she took on the challenging role of the legendary foul mouthed, whiskey swilling frontier scout Calamity Jane. Of course her act was cleaned up for family viewing. Even so Day gives an inspired performance as the gruff but heart of gold Jane.
The film opens with a rousing rendition of "The Deadwood Stage" - (Whip crack away) Then moves into Deadwood where we meet a clean and sober Wild Bill Hickok (Howard Keel) who treats Calamity as one of the boys. When a female entertainer Francis Fryer (Dick Wesson) is mistook for a female by saloon owner Henry Miller (Paul Harvey), Fryer is forced to perform in drag too much boos and cat calls.
Calamity takes it upon herself to go to Chicago to hire popular singer Adelaid Adams (Gale Robbins) to come to Deadwood to perfprm. In Chicago, Calamity mistakes Adams' maid Katie Brown (Allyn Ann McLerie) for her. Katie comes to Deadwood and becomes a hit when she performs as herself rather than an imitation of Adams. She becomes attracted to Lt. Danny Gilmartin (Phil Carey) but thinks that he is Calamity's man. Wild Bill meanwhile has developed a liking for Katie.
Calamity invites Katie to move in with her. Katie feminizes the unkempt cabin and the two women become friends. With the annual ball at the army fort coming up, Danny asks Katie to accompany him. She is reluctant at first but accepts. That leaves Wild Bill to take Calamity to the dance. But is dumbfounded when he see Calamity all dolled up for the first time. Anyway, all gets sorted out and the right peron winds up with the right partner and all leave happily ever after.
The characters of Hickok and Jane bear little resemblance to the real life characters so Warners took liberties in bringing the to the screen. For example, I don't think either of then got married and certainly not to each other. Day is outstanding nonetheless, Keel less so. Both get to sing mostly forgettable tunes as does McLerie except for Day singing "Secret Love", "Put 'em in a Box, Tie "em With a Ribbon" and "The Deadwood Stage".
In addition to Chubby Johnson who plays the stage coach driver Rattlesnake, there are several western veterans who pop up throughout the couse of the picture. Watch for Lane Candler, Budd Buster, Edmund Cobb, Franlyn Farnum, Glenn Strange, Robert Fuller, I. Stanford Jolley, Rex Lease, Tom London, Emmett Lynn, Kermit Maynard, Francis McDonald Gene Roth among others.
Romance on the High Seas (1948)
When I Was Just a Little Girl........
"Romance on the High Seas", make no mistake about it, was especially designed to introduce Doris Day to film audiences. It was directed by the legendary Michael Curtiz with musical numbers handled by the equally legendary Busby Berkley.
The plot, if you can call it that, is silly to say the least. It's about a very rich couple Michael and Elvira Kent (Don DeFore, Janis Paige) who each suspect the other of "fooling around". Michael sees Elvira seemingly cozying up to a car salesman (Douglas Kennedy) and Elvira suspects that he is involved with his new secretary Miss Medwick (Leslie Brooks). Much hilarity ensues.
Elvira hires aspiring singer Georgia Garrett (Doris Day) to impersonate her on an ocean voyage to Rio De Janero while she remains home to spy on Michael. Much hilarity ensues. Michael meanwhile engages the services of Private Investigator Peter Virgil (Jack Carson) to go on the voyage and spy on his wife. Much hilarity ensues. Michael and Georgia (as Elvira) form an attraction for each other. But, unexpectedly, Georgia's "boyfriend" Oscar Farrar (Oscar Levant) arrives on the scene. Much hilarity ensues.
When the ship docks in Rio, Peter is felling guilty over his attraction to what he thinks is a married woman. His messages back to Michael have him confused so he flies to Rio to see what is going on. Much hilarity ensues. Tlo further complicate matters, Elvira also decides to go to Rio. Much hilarity ensues. Through all of the confusion, Georgia and Peter are united in love and she gets her big break performing in a local night club and everybody lives happily ever after.
Day steals the picture getting to sing a number of songs including "It's Magic" three times. She became a major star after this film and never looked back. I never thought of Jack Carson as a romantic lead. He was more at home as a second banana to Dennis Morgan in those days. Janis Paige would appear with Day in "Pease Don't Eat the Daisies" 12 years later. Don DeFore's career was on the decline to the point that he wound up plying the next door neighbor on the "Ozzie and Harriet" TV show.
Also in the cast are S. Z. Sakall as the cuddly old Uncle Lazlo Lazlo, Franlin Pangborn as a hotel clerk and Fortunio Bonanova as the band leader who gives Day her big Break.
Calling Philo Vance (1940)
It's Deja Vu All Over Again!
I suppose if you hadn't seen "The Kennel Murder Case" (1933, you would enjoy "Calling Philo Vance" a little more. Because you see, this is a remake of the earlier film which starred William Powell arguably the best in the series.
James Stephenson takes over as Vance and although no Powell, gives creditable performance in the lead. The storyline was changed to a war time scenario where Vance is working undercover in Vienna, trying to prove that airplane designer Arthur Coe (Richard Kipling) is selling design secrets to foreign powers. Vance finds the necessary evidence but is arrested and deported before he can take action.
Back in the good old USA, Vance, who is now working for ex-D.A. Markam (Henry O'Neill) a Chief Investigator for some unknown agency, goes to seek out Coe. However on arriving at Coe's residence, Coe's body is discovered by butler Gamble (Martin Kosleck). The body is behind a door locked from the inside with a gun in his hand indicating suicide which Marham's assistant Ryan (Edward Brophy) is quick to point out.
The plot from this point forward is word for word identical to that of the original. Coe's brother Bisbane (whom we never meet) is found dead in a closet. Although Vance concludes that Brisbane killed his brother using an interesting device, but there appears to be another murderer involved. Vance tricks the murderer into revealing himself and.......................................................
It was sad to see that the Philo Vance series had been reduced to programmer status re-using an existing script from an earlier film.
The Garden Murder Case (1936)
Look Into My Eyes................!
"The Garden Murder Case" from MGM boasts a cast that includes three former silent screen stars. As Philo Vance we have Edmund Lowe (What Price Glory? - 1926), H.B. Warner (King of Kings (1927) and Henry B. Walthall (The Birth of a Nation - 1915) as well as an excellent supporting cast.
Edmund Lowe makes an excellent Philo Vance. He has the poise and class of an upper crust detective unlike some of the previous actors (William Powell excepted) who played the part.
The film opens during "a day at the races" where millionaire Lowe Hammle (Gene Lockhart) is holding court, counting his winnings. With him are his niece Zalia Graem (Virginia Bruce), Mr. and Mrs. Fenwicke-Ralston (Warner, Frieda Inescourt), and gigilo Woode Swift (Kent Smith) who is pursuing Zalia much to the dismay of Hammle and jockey Floyd Garden (Douglas Walton) who seems to be in some sort of trance. Joining the group is Philo Vance (Lowe).
Floyd mutters that he must fall and break his neck as he mounts his horse for the next race. He does just that. Vance rushes to his side but he dies. Vance becomes suspicious. D.A. Marham (Grant Mitchell) and Sgt. Heath (Nat Pendleton) take up the case. They meet at Hammle's 22 room Apartment where we learn that everyone hates him for one reason or another. You knoe what's likely to happen to him at some point.
Zalia hates to be under her uncle's control, Nurse Beeton (Benita Hume is trying to blackmail him over a previous affair, Swift is suddenly transferred to South America to get him away from Zalia and Dr. Garden (Walthall) is distraught of his son Floyd's untimely death. Later a shot rings out and a woman's scream is heard. Hammle is found murdered in his office. Enter cranky coroner Dr. Dorameous (Etienne Girodot) who determines how the man died.
Vance suspects that a woman is guilty because of the weapon that was chosen for the murder. Hammle's crusty old mother (Jesse Ralph) begins accusing Zalia of the crime. Vance takes pity (or more than pity) on the young woman. Mrs. Fenwick-Ralston comes down the stairs apparently oblivious to her surroundings and boards a bus and unexpectedly commits suicide by jumping off the double decker.
While walking with Zaliia, the pair are forced to take refuse from a storm in a museum, Vance has a revelation when he shows Zalia how a python hypnotizes his intended victim. He now realizes how the crimes were committed. He confronts the killer who then apparently hypnotizes Vance and.............................................................
One of the better non-Powell entries in the series.
The Casino Murder Case (1935)
Lukas Totally Miscast!
With "The Casino Murder Case", the Philo Vance series returns to MGM which explains the rather large cast and top notch production values. Unfortunately, the casting of Paul Lucas as Vance just doesn't work. As good an actor as he was, he just couldn't pull this one off with his Hungarian Bela Lugosi like accent and continental manners. Philo Vance was supposed to be a bon vivant smart talking American detective (see William Powell). Oddly enough, Powell was working at the studio at the time on his "Thin Man" series.
What this film does have in it's favor is its excellent supporting cast including a young and energetic Rosiland Russell in an early role. The story centers around the rich and famous Llewellyn family We meet the matriarch Mrs' Llewellyn (Alison Skipworth) and her secretary Doris Reed (Russell) at an auction (watch for William Demarest as the auctioneer) that Philo Vance (Lukas) is attending. Vance receives a note warning of imminent danger to son Lynn (Donald Cook) if he goes to Uncle Richard Kincaid's (Arthur Byron) casino on a certain night. Vance takes an interest in the case.
Lynn does go to the casino but is poisoned. He is saved by the quick action of Vance, who is also there. (Watch for Keye Luke as Taki a Casino employee). At the same time back at the Llewellyn estate, Virginia Llewellyn (Louise Henny) the flamboyant wife of Lynn, is also poisoned but dies. Vance, D.A. Marham (Purnell Pratt), Sgt. Heath (Ted Healy) and coroner Dr. Doremus (Charles Sellon) rush to the scene. Amid much family squabbling, we learn that the elder Mrs. Llewellyn and Virginia had quarreled that night. Lynn's volatile sister Amelia (Isabel Jewell) is involved with family doctor Dr. Kane (Leslie Fenton)
Meanwhile Vance has taken up with Doris Reed and a budding romance begins. Later a shot ring out and the elder Mrs. Llewellyn is found dead of a gun shot wound. She has left a suicide note confessing to Virginia's murder. But Vance is not convinced that there wasn't an elaborate plot concocted by someone in the family to throw Vance off the trail and place the blame on an innocent party. After following some false leads, including the involvement of "heavy water" as a poison, Vance follows the clues and false leads and finds the guilty culprit.
It was unusual to see Philo Vance get heavily involved with the leading lady. But hey, it was Roz. Lep G. Carroll has a nice bit as Smith the butler. His scene with a trunk on a staircase is hilarious. Eric Blore plays Vance's butler Currie and he and Healy along with Carroll provide the movie's lighter moments.
The Dragon Murder Case (1934)
Puff! Where's the Magic Dragon?
With William Powell moving on to MGM and "The Thin Man", Warren William takes over the role of detective Philo Vance in this entry.
A party is being held at the Stamm residence where it seems, everybody hates every body else. The "party" is being held in honor of the forthcoming wedding of playboy Monty Montegue (George Meeker) and Bernice Stramm (Margaret Lindsey). Bernice is less than enthusiastic over the wedding being in love with childhood sweetheart Dale Leland (Lyle Talbot) Host Rudolph Stamm (Robert Barrat) seemingly is getting himself falling down drunk. Others in attendance are Ruby Steele (Dorothy Tree) who has a past with Monty, Greef (William Davidson), the oily Tatum (George E. Stone) and of course, the butler Trainor (Arthur Aylsworth).
The group decides to go for a swim in "The Dragon Pond". Monte, Greff and Leland all dive in. Montegue who is an expert swimmer fails to re-surface. All efforts to find him fail. Greef calls the police. D.A. Markham (Robert McWade), Philo Vance (Williams) and Sgt. Heath (Eugene Palette) rush to the scene.
Vance orders the pool drained but they find only what appears to be dragon footprints in the mud. Weird old Mrs. Stamm (Helen Lowell) spins a tale about the ancient curse of the dragon. They finally locate Montegue's body in a pot hole away from the pool. Coroner Dr. Doremus (Etienne Giradot) examines the body and finds claw like marks on Montegue's neck.
Vance's investigation leads him to the family crypt wherein he finds a scuba diving outfit with gloves and flippers that resemble dragon claws and footprints. Hmmmmmm. He also discovers the body of Greef who apparently was getting too close to the killer. To reveal more at this point would give away the ending. Rest assured, Vance identifies the killer and all live happily ever after.
Warren William's performance as Vance reminded me of Basil Rathbone's interpretation of Vance in "The Bishop Murder Case" (1929). Both gave wooden performances not even coming close to that of William Powell in five Vance films. Eugene Palette steals this film as the gravel voiced detective.
The Bishop Murder Case (1929)
Holmes! Who Is This Man?
"The Bishop Murder Case" is an early sound film from MGM featuring detective Philo Vance, this time in the personage of none other than Sherlock...er Basil Rathbone. It's a rather static film as the industry was still learning how to make sound films at this stage.
Professor Bertrand Dillard (Alec B. Francis) discovers the murder of "Cock Robin" a suitor of his niece Belle (Leila Hyams). He calls D. A. Markam (Clarence Geldart) and ace detective Philo Vance (Rathbone). They discover a note signed by "The Bishop" referencing the fairy tale character Cock Robin. Signurd Arnesson (Roland Young) who is involved with the comely young Belle, arrives with one of his students John Sprigg (Carroll Nye) a friend of Robin who vows revenge upon the Robin's Killer.
Sprigg turns up murdered and again another "nursery rhyme note from "The Bishop" is discovered. Vance and Marham examine the evidence and upon first interviewing the bed ridden Mrs. Drukker (Zelda Sears) and then creepy husband Adoph Drukker (George F. Marion) suspect that they know more than they are saying about the Robin murder.
The Drukkers are next on "The Bishop's" list both turning up murdered again with nursery rhyme notes in evidence. Next in line is Prof. Dillard's chess playing friend Pardee (Charles Quartermaine) who is found next to a house of cards, dead of course.
Vance rounds up the usual suspects, the butler Pyne (Sidney Bracey), Arnessson, and even Professor Dillard . While all of this is going on, Belle is grabbed while searching the attic and tied up. The type writer on which the Bishop's notes were typed is found. Finally "The Bishop" is unmasked by Vance and it turns out to be................................................................
Basil Rathbone is best remembered for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes but he was still ten years away from that role. He spent the 30s playing mostly villains notably against Errol Flynn. He is rather wooden in the Philo Vance part that was owned by William Powell in five pictures. It was unusual to see Roland Young in a romantic role rather than the mousy little characters that he would come to play.
Although the film shows early sound growing pains, the mystery is quite entertaining. I just love those 30s who done its.
Pioneer Woman (1973)
To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before!
The title of "Pioneer Woman" pretty well tells you what this TV movie is all about. It's a family orientated movie to be sure, and could have been sub-titles "Little Sod Hut on the Prairie".
It's 1867 and John Sergeant (William Shatner) buys an 80 acre tract of land in Nebraska. He returns home excited but his wife Maggie (Joanna Pettit) is less than enthusiastic about the move. You see, she is pregnant and hasn't told her husband. Their children, Sarah (Helen Hunt - her debut) and Jeremy (Russell Baer) have mixed feelings over leaving the security of their Indiana home.
John's wishes prevail and they sell their belongings and set out for Nebraska first by train, wagon train and alone. When they arrive at their land, they are "greeted" by a group of nesters who refuse to give up the land that they have been cultivating for the past seven years. They force John to sign over his deed and while this is going on, Maggie loses her baby and run the family out of town so to speak..
The family decides to press on to Wyoming where they meet up with Joe Wormser (Lance DeGault who shows them the way to an available tract of land near his. On the way they meet cattleman Robert Douglas (David Jannsen) whom they well encounter later. John works hard cultivating the land and builds the family a sod hut to live in. As their crop of wheat is nearly ready for market, John goes off to town to register their claim.
Unfortunately, Douglas brings John's body home having found him killed in a violent rain storm. Maggie discovers that the family is near broke and despite wanting to return home, is forced to stay and sell the wheat crop to raise money. Just as the harvest is about to begin a prairie fire breaks out. Douglas and the surrounding neighbors rush to the Sergeant farm to fight the fire.
With the fire extinguished and the bulk of her crop saved, Maggie must now decide whether to return to Indiana or stay having developed an attraction for Douglas. Hmmmmmmm.
Joanna Pettit had been a glamorous leading lady in the 60s. She sheds all of that for her role as the widowed mother of two left ito fend for herself. Shatner hams it up as usual and Jannsen has little to do other than to suggest his attraction to Maggie.
Filmed in the "wilds" of Alberta, Canada.
Where'd You Get Those Blue Eyes?
I didn't quite know what to make of this spaghetti western. To be fair, I am not all that familiar with the work of Terrence Hill. It has to be rated as a comedy although there are plenty of fights and saloon brawls. Oddly enough and unusual for a spaghetti, no one gets killed.
An English aristocrat Thomas More (Hill) comes west to claim his late father's ranch and property. The father known simply as "The Englishman" had been partners with three rough unkempt ruffians, Bull Schmidt (Gregory Walcott), Preacher Holy Joe (Harry Carey Jr.) and Monkey Smith (Dominic Barto). In a letter to the three from "the Englishman", he asks his former partners to "make a man" out of the tenderfoot. Tom it seems, prefers poetry, classic prose and bicycling to the rough and ready ways of the west.
Tom becomes enamored of beautiful rancher's daughter Candida Olsen (Yanti Somer). Her father Frank (Enzo Fiermonte) is the most powerful rancher "in these parts" who offers to buy Tom's ranch. He refuses. Also in the picture is Olsen's scruffy foreman Morton Clayton (Ricardo Pizzuti) who also has designs on Candida and threatens to run Tom out of town.
After being shown up in a showdown with Clayton, the three friends decide that it is time to make a man out of the timid Tom. Miraculously, in 30 days he becomes a rootin' tootin' gunslingin' cowboy. He renews the challenge with Morton and.................................................................
Following the success of the Clint Eastwood trilogy, many out of work Hollywood actors went to Europe to appear in spaghetti westerns. The latest were veterans Gregory Walcott and Harry Carey Jr. both of whom have substantial roles in this film. All the other roles were filled with poorly dubbed Italian actors.
Walcott's humorous encounters with the two greasy bounty hunters are sprinkled throughout the film. Carey, one of my personal favorites, is way over the top in his initial preacher scenes but otherwise is his old familiar self..
Apparently. this film was a third installment of Hill's "Trinity" films.
Clint Walker Stands Tall!
"Yuma" is a TV western intended I believe, as a pilot for a proposed series. Unfortunately, It didn't make it as the popularity of TV westerns was going down. It is a pretty good western in any case.
Marshal Dave Harmon (Clint Walker) arrives in Yuma, Arizona to "clean up the town". He encounters two wild drunken cowboys who recklessly speed into town on a "borrowed" stage coach. Harmon follows them into the saloon and learns that they are Rol (Bing "Neil" Russell) and Sam King (John Glover) brothers of tough trail boss Arch King (Morgan Woodward) who is on the outskirts of town with a large herd of cattle.
Sam, a hothead, draws on Harmon who is forced to kill him in self-defence. Rol surrenders peacefully and is jailed. Local big shot freighter Nels Decker (Barry Sullivan) warns Harmon that Arch King will surely come gunning for him.
Harmon meets local freighter Mules McNeil (Edgar Buchanan) who has been holding the jail keys since the departure of the previous marshal. Harmon befriends a young Mexican boy Andres (Miguel Alejandro) and gives him a job sweeping up the jail house. He then registers at the local hotel run by Julie Williams (Katherine Hays) and an immediate attraction takes place.
Later that evening two men, Sanders (Robert Phillips) and Army Captain White (John Kerr) feign breaking Rol out of jail. However when Rol crosses the street he is back shot by Sanders with Harmon's shotgun. Capt. White protests stating that he was duped into taking part in the killing. Andres who was asleep on the floor of the jail tells Harmon that one of the men wore bright shiny boots the sign of an Army man. Harmon visits the local fort commander Major Lucas (Peter Mark Richman) for information on White.
Decker it seems, has been cheating the local treaty Indians out of their rightful supply of cattle and other things for his own profit. Harmon vows to right this wrong. Meanwhile, Arch King arrives in town and believes Harmon is guilty of killing his brothers. He listens to Harmon's explanation and gives Harmon one day to come up with the killer or he will assume Harmon to be guilty.
Harmon puts two and two together and comes up with Decker and Sanders as the guilty parties. They leave town with Harmon in hot pursuit. But, are they the only guilty ones? It seems that there was a joker in the deck and...........................................................................................
Clint Walker is best known for his long running TV series "Cheyenne" He was a big man standing at 6' 8" so his parts were limited mostly to westerns although he did a fine job as one of the "Dirty Dozen" (1967). Barry Sullivan was on the downside of his career and plays the wily villain here. Edgar Buchanan had been around for years and was a dependable character actor. Bing Russell, father of Kurt, is billed as "Neil" Russell for this film.