snapshot: The Pigeon (1962 TVM)

US / 50 minutes / bw / Hubbell Robinson, NBC Dir: Don Weis Pr: Boris D. Kaplan Scr: Rik Vollaerts, Raphael Hayes Story: Rik Vollaerts, based on characters created by Ed McBain Cine: John F. Warren Cast: Robert Lansing, Ron Harper, Norman Fell, Gregory Walcott, Peter Falk, Roxane Berard, Frank Sutton, Morgan Woodward, Arthur Batanides, Harlan Warde, Nora Marlowe, Marjorie Bennett, Louise Lorimer, E.J. André, Richard Deacon, Harry Swoger.

Can a polygraph tell if someone’s lying if they’ve been hypnotized into making a false confession?

Gangster Tully Borgman (Sutton) hypnotizes sucker Greg Brovane (Falk) into believing that he was part of a supermarket robbery that left two guards dead, and feeds him with the names and descriptions of three invented confederates, then calls Steve Carella (Lansing) of the 87th Precinct with an anonymous tipoff.

Peter Falk as Greg Brovane.

Roxane Berard as Peggy Brovane.

As Tully tells his criminal buddies,

“The best part of the whole thing is the cops are looking for three guys that don’t even exist.”

Under questioning by Carella and Meyer Meyer (Fell), Brovane insists that what he’s telling them is the truth, and a polygraph test run by Continue reading

Down Three Dark Streets (1954)

US / 86 minutes / bw / UA Dir: Arnold Laven Pr: Edward Small, Arthur Gardner, Jules V. Levy Scr: The Gordons, Bernard C. Schoenfeld Story: Case File: FBI (1953) by The Gordons Cine: Joseph Biroc Cast: Broderick Crawford, Ruth Roman, Martha Hyer, Marisa Pavan, Casey Adams (i.e., Max Showalter), Kenneth Tobey, Gene Reynolds, William Johnstone, Harlan Warde, Jay Adler, Claude Akins, Suzanne Alexander, Myra Marsh, Joe Bassett, Alexander Campbell, William Schallert, Charles Tannen, William Woodson, Dede Gainor.

Down Three Dark Streets - 0 opener

Presented in the same docudrama style as The NAKED CITY (1948) and its many imitators, complete with the hard-voiced narration (Woodson) and the implication that the story we’re being told is true history, not invention, this is the first movie to feature FBI Agent John “Rip” Ripley, the hero of several of The Gordons’ novels; the other (and fractionally more noirish) Ripley movie was EXPERIMENT IN TERROR (1962) dir Blake Edwards, in which Ripley was played by Glenn Ford.

FBI Agent Zack Stewart (Tobey) is assigned the case of renegade hoodlum Joe Walpo (Bassett) after Walpo’s latest killing, the shooting of a gas jockey, Ben (Schallert), who recognized him. Stewart is already working on the case of Vince Angelino (Reynolds), an ordinary joe who managed unwittingly to get involved with a gang of car thieves and is now terrified of possible repercussions should he tell what he knows. When young, recently widowed fashion designer Katherine “Kate” Martell (Roman) phones the FBI to tell them she’s just had a threatening phonecall—in an electronically disguised voice—from an extortionist demanding Continue reading