Homicide for Three (1948)

vt An Interrupted Honeymoon; vt Whispers in the Dark
US / 60 minutes / bw / Republic Dir: George Blair Assoc Pr: Stephen Auer Scr: Bradbury Foote, Albert DeMond Story: A Puzzle for Puppets (1944) by Patrick Quentin Cine: John MacBurnie Cast: Audrey Long, Warren Douglas, Grant Withers, Lloyd Corrigan, Stephanie Bachelor, George Lynn, Tala Birell, Benny Baker, Joseph Crehan, Sid Tomack, Dick Elliott, Eddie Dunn, John Newland, Billy Curtis, Patsy Moran.

It’s a very long time since last I read Patrick Quentin’s A Puzzle for Puppets (1944), but as I recall it was a perfectly respectable little mystery novel. Unfortunately the geniuses at Republic chose to adapt it as a comedy mystery. The result is something that’s undoubtedly (mildly) entertaining throughout but that hardly satisfies someone in need of a Quentin/Duluths fix.

A year ago Peter (Douglas) and Iris Duluth (Long) married, but Peter was called off to naval service before they could spend their wedding night together. Now he’s been given a 36-hour furlough and the Duluths are combing LA for a hotel room for consummation purposes—a room that’s hard to find because there’s a convention in town.

Audrey Long as Iris Duluth.

They finally get a billet at the ultra-swanky Sherwood Hotel because a guest there, Mrs. Rose (Bachelor), better known in the circus world as Madame Collette, lends them Continue reading

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Alias Mr. Twilight (1946)

US / 69 minutes / bw / Columbia Dir: John Sturges Pr: John Haggott Scr: Brenda Weisberg, Malcolm Stuart Boylan Story: Arthur E. Orloff Cine: Vincent Farrar Cast: Michael Duane, Trudy Marshall, Lloyd Corrigan, Rosalind Ivan, Alan Bridge, Gi-Gi Perreau, Jeff York, Peter Brocco, Torben Meyer, Olaf Hytten, Alan Edwards.

A slight movie of fairly minimal noirish interest but a fun little number nevertheless, and definitely worth a few words here.

Successful con trickster Geoffrey Holden (Corrigan) cares about one thing and one thing only: the happiness of his five-year-old granddaughter Susan (played with your-supper-endangering cuteness by Perreau), whom he adopted after her parents died when she was tiny. Grandfather and granddaughter adore each other.

Lloyd Corrigan as Grandpa Geoffrey.

But circumstances are beginning to close in on the Holdens’ idyll. Corky Corcoran (Marshall), the glamorous young nurse who looks after Susan, Continue reading

The Christmas Caper (1952 TVM)

US / 26 minutes / bw / Showcase, CBS Dir: Erle C. Kenton Pr: Hal Roach Jr, Carroll Case Scr: Arthur Orloff Cine: Norbert Brodine Cast: Reed Hadley, Lloyd Corrigan, John L. Coogan (i.e., Jackie Coogan), Alan Dexter, John Phillips, Willie Best, Louis Lettieri, Jeri Lou James, Paul Keast, Argentina Brunetti, Frances Drew, William Fawcett.

Produced at the Hal Roach studios and (alas) sponsored by tobacco giant Philip Morris Inc., Racket Squad ran for a total of 98 episodes between 1951 and 1953. (The Christmas Caper, series 3 episode 15, was first aired on December 25 1952.) As its series hero, Captain John Braddock (Reed Hadley), explained at the outset of each episode,

What you are about to see is a real-life story taken from the files of the police racket and bunko squad, the business protective associations and similar sources all over the country. It is intended to expose the confidence game, the carefully worked-out frauds by which confidence men take more money each year from the American public than the bank robbers and thugs with their violence.

Reed Hadley as Captain John Braddock.

In this particular instance:

Tonight I’m going to tell you a story that’s a little different from the ones you’ve been seeing. It exposes a racket just as the others have done, and it’s a nasty racket that takes hard-earned money from honest people and puts it into the pockets of thieves. But still it’s a different story, first because it’s a Christmas story and second because it put me on a spot I never want to be put on again: I had to arrest Santa Claus . . .

In a poor quarter of the large city where Braddock’s Racket Squad operates, elderly Charlie Dooley (Corrigan) lives alone with his dog Monster. Alone? Well, not so much. All the kids Continue reading

Alias Boston Blackie (1942)

US / 67 minutes / bw / Columbia Dir: Lew Landers Pr: Wallace MacDonald Scr: Paul Yawitz Cine: Philip Tannura Cast: Chester Morris, Adele Mara, Richard Lane, George E. Stone, Lloyd Corrigan, Walter Sande, Larry Parks, George McKay, Cy Kendall, Paul Fix, Ben Taggart.

Blackie (Chester Morris) and The Runt (George E. Stone) address the Christmas tree.

It’s Christmas Eve and Boston Blackie (Morris)—a sort of Robin Hood figure, a reformed criminal who now helps the downtrodden and solves crimes—has mounted a vaudeville show for the inmates of the state prison. Eve Sanders (Mara), a friend of the famous clown Roggi McKay (McKay), begs to be included in the company so she can have an additional chance to see her brother, Joe Trilby (Parks), who’s doing time for a crime he didn’t commit. During the performance, Joe overpowers Roggi, steals his clown costume, performs his act, and then travels back to the city on the performers’ bus—among his fellow-passengers being Blackie’s old nemesis, Inspector Farraday (Lane).

Joe Trilby (Larry Parks) becomes the fake Roggi.

Joe plans to knock off the two crooks who framed him, Duke Banton—”that tin-horn bookie from Saratoga,” as someone calls him—and Steve Caveroni (Fix), currently working as a cabby. Informed by Continue reading

Mr. Reckless (1948)

US / 67 minutes / bw / Medallion, Pine–Thomas Dir: Frank McDonald Scr: Maxwell Shane, Milton Raison Cine: Ellis W. Carter Cast: William Eythe, Barbara Britton, Walter Catlett, Minna Gombel (i.e., Minna Gombell), Lloyd Corrigan, Nestor Paiva, Frank Jenks, Ian MacDonald, James Millican.

Oilman Jeff Lundy (Eythe) returns to LA from two years drilling in Louisiana to discover that his good buddy, restaurateur Gus Patrokios (Paiva), is engaged to Jeff’s old flame Betty Denton (Britton), even though Betty’s only half Gus’s age. Aside from being miffed, Jeff assumes Betty’s motives must be entirely mercenary; she has, after all, a scapegrace father, Hugo (Corrigan), whose bad habits are expensive.

The principals go to a new oil development in the desert, where Jeff and Hugo work on the rigs with Jeff’s old pal Pete (Millican) while Gus sells meals to the oilmen. Hugo’s gambling gets him heavily in debt to oilfield bully Jim Halsey (MacDonald); a few hours before Betty’s and Gus’s wedding, Halsey locks Hugo into an empty oil tank to “think things over.” In a fight with Halsey, Gus breaks his hip. Jeff rescues Hugo just in time, as oil flows into the tank. The wedding’s delayed until Gus recovers from his injuries; in the meanwhile Jeff and Betty realize they’re still as much in love as ever, but agree Betty can’t jilt Gus. But then Jeff’s crippled by a vengeful Halsey . . .

Mr. Reckless 1948 - life on the rigs

Climbing the rig . . . to doom?

Gombel/Gombell plays the feisty landlady of the boarding house in which the principals lodge. Catlett, as her ne’er-do-well husband Joel, combines with Corrigan for a late example of one of those dreary “comic interludes” that marred so many Hollywood movies of the ’30s. Otherwise, the movie’s quite worth watching, and the scenes as the good guys rush to free Hugo from the oil tank are genuinely exciting. Mr. Reckless shares some ingredients with The POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1946), but here the principals—Halsey of course excepted—all have their hearts in the right place; and, although the circumstances lead inevitably to tragedy, some sort of happy ending emerges from it.

On Amazon.com: Mr. Reckless