A story about the U. S. Department of Justice and its agents that begins with a daring mail-truck robbery by a ruthless gang that flees to the western United States after the robbery. When ...
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A story about the U. S. Department of Justice and its agents that begins with a daring mail-truck robbery by a ruthless gang that flees to the western United States after the robbery. When money from the robbery shows up in a small Kansas town, the department sends agent Dick Grant to investigate, posing as a businessman. He is hindered in his assignment by a local newspaper reporter, Helen Sherwood, and when he falls in love with her, he is unable to reveal to her who he really is and why he is there.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
"Men Without Names" is a Good 1935 Paramount Gangster Movie!
"Men Without Names" is a serious and at times grim and brutal film depicting gangsters on the run and hiding out in an small town America. In it, the contrast between the idyllic and tranquil rural town and the ruthless and no-good antagonists making camp there clearly and deftly are juxtaposed. Glimpses of disappearing small-town life include curbside Greyhound bus service on a still dirt-surfaced Main Street, and friendly folks gathered around the evening meal at the old boarding house (do these places still exist?).
The story is subtle and logical and builds to some joltingly graphic depictions as the story resolves. One tends to think of Paramount pictures being light and airy, but this one resembles WB in its dedication to showing the gritty side of life's battle between good and evil. Police work seems technologically primitive as we look at the methodologies in our rear view mirror of today. All in all, the film is fast-moving and totally satisfying. The supporting cast includes Leslie Fenton, who made a good living in gangster films, many across town at WB , while Fred MacMurray in only his second year of film stardom seems as comfortable in his work as he would be twenty years down the road. He has a luminous and easy-going presence in the film, sporting as he does his jet-black haircut.
Notwithstanding all the positivity enunciated above, this film has somewhat the sheen of a B-western--and not in a bad way, what with the film's premise and set-up, the buildup, and the climax. Just replace the cars with horses and there you go! Even the lack of incorporating serious romantic exploration, but a romance that nonetheless exists and seemingly ends well, has "B-western" stamped all over it.
One thing that caught my ear early on was an exchange of money, where, in making change, the innkeeper declared: "twelve and three is fifteen, and five is twenty," which reminded me that when I was a kid in the 1950's and 1960's I heard clerks count out change in a voiced meter like that all the time; however, I haven't heard this done, or even thought of it, in decades. Old movies can make for good reminders of history!
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