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I also write for Influx Magazine--where many of my opinions and reviews are also posted.
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Unlike most courtroom films, this one seems to follow the case from start to finish.
VERY frank about rape and sexual terminology--a 'dirty' film.
Iron county--upper peninsula Duke ellington.
In most courtroom films, the film seems like it's made up of a Cliff Notes version....with only bits and pieces. However, with "Anatomy of a Murder", you see the work of the defense attorney (James Stewart) from when he first takes the case through to the judgment...though, oddly, the closing arguments were NOT shown! The film also is highly unusual because it has a frankness you had previously not see in movies due to the tough Production Code of 1934. Yet here, terms like rape, semen and panties are used....words that simply wouldn't have been allowed before this film.
Apart from this, the acting, direction and entire production is top notch. Well worth seeing and not a slow or overlong film at nearly three hours. One of the great courtroom dramas.
By the way, in a very brief scene in a bar with a band, that's Duke Ellington talking with Jimmy Stewart.
The White Cliffs of Dover (1944)
A lovingly made product of its times.
"The White Cliffs of Dover" clearly was made to strengthen the ties and resolve between the United States and Britain during WWII. Yet, although it's obviously a propaganda film, it manages to be exceptional above and beyond that, as MGM clearly pulled out all the stops in producing this slick movie.
The story begins in the present (1944) but soon flashes back to early 1914 when Susan (Irene Dunne) and her father arrive in London for a vacation. Her rather hates traveling abroad but Susan steps out of her comfort zone and soon falls for Sir John Ashwood (Alan Marshall). She and John marry and the family embraces her. The story then follows Susan from here through the war and well into WWII. I could say more, but really don't want to spoil the film.
The film clearly is intended to show American and British audiences that we're all in this together and no sacrifice is too great. And so, Susan's son ALSO eventually goes off to war in order to do his duty and carry on the family tradition. Most of this and American neutrality are dealt with very well with great subtlety and care, though this is NOT the case with the German boys who visit the family in the late 20s to early 1930s...this is very heavy-handed.
The film is exquisitely made--well directed, with an incredible musical score and great cinematography. This is Irene Dunne's best performance and the studio also put some of its best character actors in the film to support her. The total effect of all this is highly sentimental and beautiful. A lovely film to see....but one that might necessitate having some tissues nearby...as it is, at times, rather sad and sentimental.
Boss of Bullion City (1940)
A bit obvious who the baddies are in this one.
"Boss of Bullion City" is an okay western starring Johnny Mack Brown and Fuzzy Knight. I say it's okay because although I like Brown's films, it's so obvious from the beginning of the film who the bad guys are that there's really no sense of suspense. I think had the film kept this a secret longer and provided some doubt, it would have worked better.
When the story begins, Tom and Burt (Brown and Knight) are held up outside of some town. Naturally given that Tom is the hero, it's no surprise that he is able to stop the robbers and he takes one of the attackers prisoner. The prisoner ends up being one of the deputies in this town and so it seems obvious that the sheriff and the rest of the lawmen are also involved in criminal activities. And, by their behaviors, there never really is any doubt about the shady sheriff. And so, you need to wait another 40 or so minutes to see the sheriff arrested.
While I thought there was zero mystery to the film and no suspense as well, it's still decent because Johnny Mack Brown's style is so nice and natural...as usual. He was a fine B Cowboy....but sometimes the scripts could be better...such as with "Boss of Bullion City".
Chip of the Flying U (1939)
Oddly, in the end the goofy sidekick saved the day...and blew up the baddies!
As you'd expect in a B-western, there is a scummy boss who is doing all sorts of evil things. However WHAT he's doing and HOW he meets his end...well, that is most unusual! Otherwise, it has what you'd expect in a B...a goofy sidekick (Fuzzy Knight), a handsome guy who simply is there to sing (Bob Baker) and a handsome leading man (Johnny Mack Brown).
Duncan is behind a strange smuggling ring, as he's transporting explosives! But he needs to get access to the water so he can use boats to transport these items. So, he's out to take over the Flying U ranch, as it is on the water. Up until the end, Chip (Brown) battles the baddies...when, out of the blue, Weary (Knight) manages to blow up the hideout where the baddies are hiding.
The B has hand grenades....which is mighty weird for the genre. Otherwise, it's a mildly enjoyable flick...not among Brown's better work but it's in offensive and interesting.
Lodge Night (1923)
The gang drives a car?!
Years ago, I bought the mega-set of the Our Gang/Little Rascals films. However, while it was supposed to be complete, since the time the DVD set came out, quite a few more of the silent Our Gang comedies have been discovered and "Lodge Night" is one of them.
The film consists mostly of the kids welcoming in the new kid, Joe*, to the club. To do this, they haze him and make him do all sorts of things. Ultimately, this is interrupted when car thieves arrive at the club house to hide out from the cops. Amazingly, the kids grab a car and take off after the crooks!!
Another subplot is a bit problematic in this very politically correct age. Sunshine Sammy's dad (and his actual real life father) is delivering a lecture to his various black friends...and it degenerates to a dice game...a common but certainly unkind stereotype of the day. Still, the fact that there were several black kids among the gang make this a decent film and a very progressive one for its day.
Lodge Night (1937)
That woman is BAD!
Andy is getting ready to go to his lodge meeting when he learns that his nephew is involved with a nightclub singer (Joan Woodbury). He goes to stop her and she ends up robbing him for his troubles. In addition, Andy's wife soon arrives and things get crazy with the wife and nephew and others running amok at the nightclub.
The best part of this Columbia short is watching Andy Clyde do some amazing contortionism at the beginning. It's not only funny but pretty amazing to watch! What's a little less funny is the mirror gag, as it was hardly original (watch "Duck Soup"....you'll see it done better...and earlier). Apart from these bits, the short has quite a bit of action and slapstick fun. None of it brilliant but it is reasonably fun to watch.
Heather and Yon (1944)
Like the original, this one just doesn't make sense...even for a comedy!
This is a short from Columbia Pictures starring Andy Clyde. Clyde had a long career from the silent days to the 1960s and starred in a wide variety of films...not just comedies. He was also a wonderful sidekick in about half of the Hopalong Cassidy films and has nearly 400 IMDB credits! This film is a remake of a 1937 Educational Pictures short starring Buster Keaton ("Jail Bait")....and it was a very disappointing film. Perhaps this remake is better as it was, oddly, made by a different studio...though the main story idea still makes little sense.
When the story begins, Andy is taking a diction class to get rid of his Scottish accent. While Andy was Scottish, I never thought you could tell he was Scottish...though it is interesting that the short mentions his heritage. Surprisingly, during his lesson he asks his teacher to marry him...and she agrees.
So far, the film is fine. What happens next is incredibly contrived and bad. A friend is a reporter and convinces Andy to admit to a murder he never committed so he could go to prison and investigate. What about the wedding? And, who would ever consider such a goofy proposition?! In fact, this is THE reason that "Heather and Yon" fails just like the original. Despite Clyde's best efforts and a few cute moments, it just doesn't work.
By the way, in the scene where a fellow inmate is trying to cut away the bars to free Andy's head, that's Snub Pollard, another silent star who made a ton of pictures...even more than Clyde...over 600 in fact!!!
But did he actually do it?!
A couple are on their honeymoon in Mexico and are nearly run over by some driver on their way to a picnic. During the picnic, the wife disappears and when her husband, Mark (Peter Graves), looks for her, he finds her dead...strangled. The police are unable to charge anyone but they have a suspect...but no proof. So Mark decides to befriend the possible killer in order to get evidence. But when he can't get convincing evidence, he decides to kill the man.
This episode seems a bit more padded than most of the one hour episodes...a problem with a few of these longer episodes. Some parts are unnecessary and the big confrontation scene is really drug out for a long time. Now this isn't to say it's not bad nor lacks suspense...it does well in both departments. Worth seeing despite its faults.
Does this woman EVER shut up or listen to anyone?!
The summary for "The Paragon" is very vague, though Joan Fontaine must have enjoyed playing Alice. Alice is a know-it-all who has an amazing capacity to annoy everyone around her. She thinks she knows better than everyone and has an opinion about EVERYTHING...and she's completely insufferable. Her beleaguered husband, John (Gary Merrill), loves her but he's losing patience with her, as she drives folks away...which harms his business and has lost all their friends. He tries to help her to change, but STILL she is awful to be around and will not accept any criticism. Eventually, John jokes that he may kill her if she doesn't learn to control herself and her opinions. Or, is it a joke?
This episode really holds your interest...due to Fontaine's amazing character! Plus, you really are rooting for something horrible to happen to her and for the person who kills her to get a medal...much like in the great film "The Suspect" (1944). However, it's not perfect as the ending just seemed unsatisfying and weak....without a real twist. Good acting...okay story...and with the unnecessary epilogue by Hitchcock to say that the crime was punished.
What to do when your neighbor's kid is a monster?!
Bill and Janet Nelson (Bradford Dillman and Diana Hyland) have just moved into a new home. However, they soon realize that they've moved next to a family who is going to be a serious problem. Their young son is a violent little monster...and the father (Ed Asner) won't believe anything he's told about the kid. First, he's been caught in Bill's car stealing and later he's caught doing cruel things to the Nelson dog. When Bill confronts the kid, the kid says he's going to murder their dog....and soon after this, he breaks in to their home and kids the animal! Once again, the father won't believe any of this...and only believes his son who lies and says that Bill attacked him! The police aren't much good either. So what are the Nelsons to do living next door to a monster?! And, what will this kid do next??
This is a truly frightening episode...more than most because you know that there really are some kids like this...kids who take pleasure in hurting others and have no conscience. In other words, most of the killers and criminals in the show seem unreal....this one seems all too real...and you shudder at what the monster will do next. And, it gets REALLY bad here...REALLY bad....far worse than you'd expect from 1960s TV bad! Overall, this is among the most frightening shows the series ever made...mostly because it's so real and I worked with a few kids like this as a therapist.
She married a 'fixer upper'...and there are no surprises here.
When the story begins, David (Robert Redford) is making out with the family maid, Marie. His mother catches them and fires the maid on the spot. Impulsively, David asks Marie to marry him and the mother tosses them both out of the house. You soon realize why...as David is a sociopath. He is a career criminal (despite having a rich family) and has outbursts of violence. Despite quite a few warning signs, Marie does marry him with the hope of reforming him.
I really could not see the point of this episode. The lady marries a dirtbag and by the end he's still a dirtbag....no twist, no suspense whatsoever. None. It felt nothing like an episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" nor "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour". Not engaging and indifferently written.
A series of unfortunate events.
Karen (Inger Stevens) is home alone, as her husband is away on a business trip. She obviously is NOT comfortable being home alone and when a Hispanic man knocks on her door and says he needs to use the phone because he ran out of gas, she refuses to let him inside the house. A bit later, the police show up with the man...and she recounts what happened earlier. In addition, she tells them that she thinks she heard a scream...and it turns out when the man was walking to the gas station, someone attacked his wife. It is a VERY unfortunate situation....and you can understand her behaviors and the man's anger towards her since she refused to help. Why she didn't call the police when the man said he needed help OR when she heard the scream, I have no idea.
The next day, a neighbor drops by and some surfers do as well. In these cases, Karen lets them inside...and perhaps it's because she knew these people or perhaps it was because it was daytime. Or, perhaps they were all white people. Who knows? Regardless, her husband had rushed home because she had called him, hysterical, the night before...and he was surprised to see her out surfing with these guys. So, he returns to finish his business trip...leaving her home alone once again. What's next? See the show.
Karen's behavior during this show is pretty inconsistent...especially in the second half of the episode. After all, a woman was beaten horribly the night before...and you'd think Karen would exercise much more caution...which, oddly, she doesn't. And, of course BAD THINGS are loomin'!
This is a pretty good installment of "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour", though it seems more like a cop show than "Alfred Hitchcock". Not bad and providing a few surprises...even if Karen IS a very inconsistently written character.
Weak....weak...weak. Didn't anyone read this script first to see if it was any good?!
A servant often brings her young son to work. The problem is that the husband who pays her', Mr. Raydon, demands the child NOT be there. Later, when the housekeeper brings the child to work and the kid accidentally breaks something, the man is angry and fires the lady. In retaliation, she poisons him. However, the wife is blamed for this by her vengeful mother-in-law and soon the widow stands trial for his murder.
I found it very odd that Mr. Raydon was killed immediately after firing the housekeeper and before she actually left the Raydon home....and the District Attorney's office didn't assume the housekeeper was the murderer. Certainly she had an obvious motive...plus she actually DID kill the man. This is a shortcoming of the episode as the best 'evidence' they seemed to have against the wife is that her meddlesome mother-in-law hated her and assumed the worst. And, much of the old woman's testimony seemed inadmissible...opinions and hatred but no real evidence. And, the stories the old woman recounts on the witness stand all seem ridiculous and hard to believe. As a result, the episode seemed very weak...extremely weak in fact. And, because of that, it all seemed irregular and highly improbable.
In some ways, "What Really Happened" is a variation on Akira Kurosawa's "Roshomon"...where different folks recount the same story...and recount it VERY differently. But "Roshomon" is a brilliant film...a real groundbreaker...and this episode of "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" just isn't. The twist towards the end was interesting...but otherwise everything about the court scenes seemed flimsy.
Overall, not especially logical...and a very weak episode from start to finish.
Newman's Law (1974)
This certainly ain't ADAM-12 or DRAGNET!
"Newman's Law" was a movie originally intended as a pilot for a television series...a series that was never to be. It seems that George Peppard had just finished filming his "Banacek" series and was looking for another TV project. And, after seeing the film, I can understand why the networks passed on it. After all, the movie was about an L. A. cop...and played NOTHING like "Dragnet" or "Adam-12", series that glorified policework AND tried to portray them realistically. Instead, it was more like "Serpico" and "Dirty Harry"....pretty potent stuff for TV.
VInce Newman (Peppard) is a detective working the Narcotics Division. He and his partner just uncovered a big crime...with a dead man, a thief and a whole lotta illegal drugs. But the best part is that the mobster Falcone is implicated in all this and now the D. A. has enough evidence to have him extradited to the US to face charges. In order to muddy the case, the mob starts paying off cops and making it look like Newman is on the take. Now this set-up really makes no sense--he and his partner just located the biggest stash of drugs the department ever confiscated and he helped the case against Falcone...and now suddenly every cop seems to believe he's dirty?! This just didn't make a lot of sense. But then, this is an action-oriented script and believability didn't seem high on their agenda.
This show would never play well if it was made today. It's not the violence level but the glorification of vigilante style police work and a complete disregard for the Bill of Rights (such as Newman working over folks he arrests as well as shooting up the mobster's compound for kicks). In other words, the show seems to say that the best way to fight evil is to ignore the law and bust heads....or worse.
The bottom line is that this is a movie featuring lots of shooting, things exploding and the like...with very little in the way of realism or characterization. I especially had to laugh at the execution scene at the nursing home...it was utterly ridiculous and made "Dirty Harry" look like the height of realism!
Ladies' Man (1947)
Extremely high energy...and quite goofy.
When the story begins, Henry Haskell (Eddie Bracken) is miserable. When he shows up for his date with his long-time girlfriend, he finds her at the church...getting married to some other guy! But his sadness is short-lived as he soon discovers oil on his property. His friend suggests he go on holiday...to enjoy the money and forget about his girlfriend. So, Henry heads to New York City where this rube seems ripe for the picking. Soon he has two women who want him---one who clearly only cares about his money and the other, well, time will tell.
This is a VERY high energy film, thanks not only to the plot but by the appearance of Spike Jones and His City Slickers. This band certainly isn't subtle or sophisticated...but they are fun. In fact, that could be said about the whole film...not exactly sophisticated but still fun.
Just Another Murder (1935)
About what I'd expect from Vince Barnett.
A man is writing a story while sitting aside his car. His terrible murder mystery is the substance of the film.
"Just Another Murder" is a film by Mack Sennett during his tenure at Educational Pictures. I've seen a few of these films and must say that this is the worst of them. The film seems practically plotless (it's a story within a story...but never really works), there's no humor, and the editing seemed random. But most importantly, it's just not funny. Now some of this isn't surprising, as it stars Vince Barnett. I have seen him in many films and never particularly cared for him and his brand of humor. Sadly, Billy Gilbert is wasted here.
Faces in the Dark (1960)
Is he paranoid or is there something going on here?
Richard Hammond is injured badly in an accident at the company he owns. He is blinded and disfigured and isn't adapting to this well at all. He seems angry, on edge and is not a particularly noble blind man. So, it's easy not to like the man. However, over time you start to wonder if perhaps SOME of his anger is because something else is going on...something or someone is manipulating him...and what he seems to experience isn't exactly real...at least not what they tell him it is. What REALLY is going on here?!
This movie is unusual because an American actor, John Ireland is in it BUT doesn't play a very significant part. Now a lot of American actors went to Europe to make films during the 1950s and 60s....but they always starred in the films. This time, it seemed more like he was just working a day or two and that's all.
So is it any good? Generally yes...though the very end is a tad sloppy. You really have a hard time imagining the wife meeting her fate the way she did...it just seemed HIGHLY unlikely. Some might also dislike how vague parts of the ending is as well. Still, it is different...and I love different.
Sunrise at Campobello (1960)
A nice bio of Franklin Roosevelt for the years following his polio up until his political ascendency....though not exactly warts and all.
When I was reading about "Sunrise at Campobello", I read a word I'd never heard before....'hagiography'. Well, I thought I could guess what it meant...and was shocked I got it right! Apparently, a hagiography is a biography that is too idealized to be real...elevating the subject to almost sainthood. Well, I wouldn't go that far to say this about "Sunrise at Campobello"...though in some ways this term is quite appropriate. It clearly is a biography, and sometimes a moving one, but also presents the most idealized view of the man possible during much of the movie. In other words, watch it by all means...just don't assume every single thing about it is gospel.
The film covers the period of time between Franklin Roosevelt contracting polio and his returning to the political world for the 1928 election...where he personally nominated Al Smith for president. In between, you see his struggle and his family's reaction to his struggle. No mention is made of his affairs nor anything particularly negative other than his losing his patience once or twice during the film. Considering he was paralyzed, this did seem a bit unreal.
Despite the problems with the film, I must admit that the movie is exceptionally moving and very well made. It is worth seeing...just understand that it's not completely accurate...less a biography and more a celebration of the best of him. And, as a former US History Teacher, I didn't adore everything about the film but certainly respect it and enjoyed it.
The Lady Is Willing (1934)
Gustav Dupont is a real rat!
During the 1930s, many big American studios bought studios in Britain and made films there. Why? Because Parliament enacted a new law that mandated that a certain percentage of films be made domestically in order to apparently prevent American and European movies from driving the British companies out of business....in other words, it was a piece of protectionism. To deal with this new law, MGM, Warner Brothers and other studios set up shop in Britain...and "The Lady is Willing" is one made by Columbia's new British unit.
When the story begins, you learn that Gustav Dupont (Cedric Hardwicke) is an awful crook. He managed to destroy a company...bankrupting many...and leaving himself rich and out of jail. Because he is such a dishonest jerk, a group of men concoct a man with a private detective (Leslie Howard)...to kidnap Dupont's wife! Why and what will it achieve? See the film and find out for yourself.
It's enjoyable watching Leslie Howard in various disguises...as well as his real life brother playing a man that Leslie, for a time, impersonates. The plot is decent and enjoyable but not as rewarding or clever as it could have been. In other words, it's good...not great. A decent time-passer.
Road House (1934)
A bygone era in Britain is celebrated in this nice film.
I am not usually a huge fan of musicals. I like many but often think the singing gets in the way of plot. Fortunately, while there's quite a bit of singing in "Road House", it fits in here and works quite well as it doesn't stand in the way of the story.
The story centers on Belle (Violet Loraine), a barmaid when the story begins. She's in love with Archie, but it takes him a long time to notice her. Fortunately for Belle, he eventually does. They marry but then WWI begins and Archie is killed. Now Belle is stuck...having to work but with a baby! So, she gives the baby to her sister to raise and soon Belle is the belle of the stage...as she now is a dancehall star. This goes on for time, that is, until her voice gives out....and she's back to working in the bar...which is now owned by her good friend, Sam (Gordon Harker). He is obviously in love with Belle...though like Archie earlier in the story, it takes her a long time to notice! Sam convinces Belle to sing in his fancy pub...and soon she's back to her old ways and she's adored by the public.
While things sound marvelous, there are a couple BIG problems looming. Sam's partners in this pub turned nightclub are a couple rogues (including George Zucco)...and Belle can see right through them. In addition, Belle's now grown daughter has fallen in love with one of these jerks...and Belle is worried that she doesn't realize he's not only a thief but is already married!! What's next? See the film....you'll be glad you did.
There isn't much not to like about this film. My only complaint is one the film itself can't help...it could really use closed captions. This is because for an American like me, some of the British accents are tough to follow.
By the way, if you do watch, get a load of that swimming pool INSIDE the night club near the end! This is something you probably only saw in films, as I cannot imagine a real nightclub with a pool being used as part of the show!
Hold That Blonde! (1945)
A klepto with a conscience!
Ogden (Eddie Bracken) is a most unusual man. He's a kleptomaniac. But the weirder part is that he's a klepto with a conscience. He always returns what he's taken...though this is a problem since he works in a bank! Tired of his antics with money and bonds deposited in the bank, the manager has no choice but to let him go...at least until he can be cured of this compulsion to steal.
Ogden goes to see a psychiatrist who must be a real quack! Dr. Storasky (George Zucco) suggests that if he finds a nice girl and gets married, his compulsion to steal with vanish. Yeah, I am sure that's the cure (NOT). Unfortunately, the girl he finds and wants to marry is Sally (Veronica Lake)...and Sally is a professional thief...though of course, Ogden doesn't know this. But you can't feel sorry for the dope...he asked her to marry him only moments after meeting her!
This movie is extremely silly...ridiculous silly. Now this is NOT a criticism...just an explanation as to what type of comedy it is. It's NOT sophisticated nor subtle! Occasionally I felt it was a bit too silly to be taken very seriously...sort of like an Abbott & Costello or even Three Stooges film. Again, not really a criticism but more about the style of the movie. I liked the film and thought it was cute and enjoyable...and quite slight. Worth seeing but don't expect brilliance...just fun.
Something Always Happens (1934)
Very clever and fun.
"Something Always Happens" is a British quota film. Let me explain what this means. The British government adopted a law long ago (1930s if I remember correctly) and it said that a certain percentage of films playing in their cinemas MUST be domestically made. So, to get around this, several big American studios (in this case, Warner Brothers) opened up British studios and made films to meet this quota. And, fortunately, they lined up the great British director Michael Powell to made the film...though at the time he was just a young and struggling guy in the movie industry.
Peter Middleton (Ian Hunter) is broke when the story begins...broke and without a job. Despite this, he soon finds himself with a little boy...a boy who is homeless and hungry. With no funds at all, he manages to find a softhearted landlord who lets the pair stay....but what is he going to do for money and food? Well, he's not that worried, as his life motto is 'Something always happens'...and he assumes with some hard work, they will be just fine. Of course, this IS during the worst period of the Great Depression! Fortunately for him, he finds the right person to help him out of this mess when he meets Cynthia.
This is a cute rags to riches tale and I really have nothing negative to say about it. Clever, fun and a film I highly recommend.
The Man from Toronto (1933)
Silly and fun.
The plot for "The Man from Toronto" is hard to believe. My advice is just turn off your brain and enjoy it.
When the story begins, Leila is furious. After all, at the reading of the will it turns out she's to inherit a huge fortune....but there's a bizarre codicil. In order to inherit, she must marry some man from Toronto....a man she's never met! Now common sense says that such a ridiculous will could easily be contested...but that's neither here nor there.
This man from Toronto (Ian Hunter) arrives in Britain and instead of Leila meeting him, she hatches a strange plan. She poses as a common maid in order to see what sort of man he is. She also wants to determine if she can get him to marry her...even if he thinks she's poor! But that's not all...she convinces him that the homely older lady is Leila! Where does all this go next? See the film.
This is a very cute and enjoyable comedy/romance. I liked the acting, the mood and the fun plot. It's silly...but fun and well worth your time. I also really enjoyed the solicitor...he was a very funny and cute old guy.
Harbor of Missing Men (1950)
Tarpon Springs, of all places, is mentioned.
Brooklyn (Richard Denning) is a charter boat captain out of Key West. In addition to the money he gets from charters, he supplements it by doing a little bit of smuggling. When a local mobster, Danzinger (George Zucco), approaches him with a proposition to make BIG money, he jumps at the chance. However, transporting these guns to Cuba turns out to be a big mistake...and the folks take the guns...and the money...and the boat. As for Brooklyn, he jumps into the Gulf and eventually he's picked up by a sponge diving boat bound for Tarpon Springs. Only later does Brooklyn realize that Danzinger's secretary is behind the theft and getting to Danzinger to tell him what happened seems impossible. The secretary and her partner want to kill him to shut him up and Danzinger thinks he's a thief and wants to shoot him!
While this film was made in Hollywood, it is set in Florida and I happen to live pretty close to Tarpon Springs. It's still a Greek sponge diving community (albeit far more commercial now than back in 1950) and they STILL jump into the harbor to retrieve the cross at Epiphany....just like they do in the movie...though the divers are normally just teens. It makes for a nice bit of local color in the film. And, for me, this is reason enough to watch the film.
So is it any good? Yes....not great but watchable and enjoyable. It's hardly a must-see but if you like B action pictures, it's pretty good.
If you want to see more about Tarpon Springs, it's also the subject in the films "16 Fathoms Deep" and "Beneath the 12 Mile Reef".
Girl in 313 (1940)
This is pretty much what you'd expect in a B....nothing more.
"Girl in 313" is a B-movie from Twentieth Century-Fox. You can tell it's a B because it is less than an hour in length and stars lesser known actors. What is a B? Well, it's a cheaper, more quickly made film designed as a second film for a double-feature...which was the norm back in the day. Yes, you'd pay your admission and get to see two different films...plus, likely, you'd get a cartoon, newsreel and some other sort of short!
A valuable brooch is stolen during a fashion show. An agent working for the store vows to retrieve the brooch and the trail leads to a pretty young lady thief. Soon, however, the pair join forces....which is ridiculously improbable. What happens next...even more improbable. I won't say more as I don't want to spoil the suspense.
Like many B-movies, the writing for "Girl in 313" sure isn't very good. In fact, it's poor for two main reasons. The big twist is unexpected...but also ridiculously improbable and hard to believe. Additionally, the use of a kooky character (the maid, Mary Treen) is most unwanted as it's supposed to be a serious mystery. Overall, pretty much what you'd expect in a cheap B....and nothing more.