Enemy Agent (1940)

US / 61 minutes / bw / Universal Dir: Lew Landers Assoc Pr: Ben Pivar Scr: Sam Robins, Edmund L. Hartmann Story: Sam Robins Cine: Jerome Ash Cast: Richard Cromwell, Helen Vinson, Robert Armstrong, Marjorie Reynolds, Jack Arnold (i.e., Vinton Hayworth), Russell Hicks, Philip Dorn, Jack LaRue, Bradley Page, Abner Biberman, Luis Alberni, Jack Carson, Milburn Stone.

A fast-moving little B-movie that capitalized on the fact that the US was becoming paranoid about fascist conquests of democracy in Europe while at the same time Corporate America, Hollywood included, was nervous about adversely affecting business through upsetting the Nazis. So we’re given no clue here as to who the jackbooted, sauerkraut-scarfing foreign power is that seeks the secrets of the new flying fortress aircraft and its fiendishly accurate bombsight.

Richard Cromwell as Jimmy.

The plans are being worked on at the Fulton Aircraft Co. by draftsman Jimmy Saunders (Cromwell), and he becomes first suspect of the FBI’s Agent Gordon (Armstrong) after their original suspect, Evans (uncredited), is gunned down. We know, however, that the Fulton employee who’s really the spy is Jimmy’s colleague Lester “Les” Taylor (Arnold).

Robert Armstrong as Agent Gordon.

Taylor is working for espionage kingpin Dr. Jeffry (sic) Arnold (Dorn), whose goons Alex (LaRue) and Baronoff (Biberman) were the ones who Continue reading

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Exposed (1947)

US / 59 minutes / bw / Republic Dir: George Blair Assoc Pr: William J. O’Sullivan Scr: Royal K. Cole, Charles Moran Story: Charles Moran Cine: William Bradford Cast: Adele Mara, Robert Scott (i.e., Mark Roberts), Adrian Booth (i.e., Lorna Gray), Robert Armstrong, William Haade, Bob Steele, Harry Shannon, Charles Evans, Joyce Compton, Russell Hicks, Paul E. Burns, Colin Campbell, Edward Gargan, Mary Gordon, Patricia Knox.

Adele Mara as Belinda.

Not long after a goon called Chicago (Steele) tries to abduct her from her normal lunchtime eaterie, PI Belinda Prentice (Mara) is hired by a businessman, Colonel William K. Bentry (Hicks), to investigate his stepson and heir, William “Bill” Foresman III (Scott), who has been behaving unusually—notably by making unexplained withdrawals from company funds.

William Haade as Iggy.

Before Belinda—aided by hunky sidekick Iggy (Haade)—has properly gotten her investigation underway, the Colonel is found dead with a letter opener stuck in his chest. It’s soon revealed that the letter opener is a red herring: he was in the habit of Continue reading

Into the Night (1955 TVM)

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Jacques Tourneur directs a taut little noirish thriller!
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US / 26 minutes / bw / Revue, MCA, CBS Dir: Jacques Tourneur Pr: Leon Gordon Scr: Mel Dinelli Story: Charles Hoffman Cine: Ellsworth Fredricks (i.e., Ellsworth Fredericks) Cast: Eddie Albert, Ruth Roman, Dane Clark, Robert Armstrong, Jeanne Bates, Wallis Clark, Bill Fawcett, Nora Marlowe, Larry Blake, Bob Bice, Jerry Mathers.

An episode of the CBS drama series General Electric Theater (season 3, episode 32, for the benefit of completists), this Jacques Tourneur-directed outing manages to pack all the plot, characterization and suspense of an upper-drawer B-feature into half or less of the typical running time.

Helen Mattson (Roman) and husband Paul (Albert) are going away for a weekend’s vacation in Palm Springs, leaving Continue reading

Search for Beauty (1934)

US / 79 minutes / bw / Paramount Dir: Erle C. Kenton Pr: E. Lloyd Sheldon Scr: Frank Butler, Claude Binyon, Sam Hellman Story: David Boehm, Maurine Watkins, based on a possibly unproduced play by Schuyler E. Grey and Paul R. Milton Cine: Harry Fischbeck Cast: Larry “Buster” Crabbe, Ida Lupino, Robert Armstrong, James Gleason, Toby Wing, Gertrude Michael, Bradley Page, Frank McGlynn Sr, Nora Cecil, Virginia Hammond, Eddie Gribbon, “Pop” Kenton, Colin Tapley, Donald Gray, Ann Sheridan.

Search for Beauty 0 opener

Search for Beauty 0a other opener

Fresh out of jail, Jean Strange (Michael) is not interested in hearing any more about the “great ideas” of fellow con artist Larry Williams (Armstrong): after all, it was one of his “great ideas” that got her into the jail in the first place. But he’s persistent:

Larry: “Won’t you please listen to me? This is so honest it’s disgusting. What’s the most sought-after thing in the country today?”
Jean: “A medium-price giraffe.”

As they travel by train to the big city, sharing a sleeping compartment (although not a berth), he keeps up the pressure despite her skepticism. This time his “great idea” can’t—just can’t—get them into trouble with the cops:

Larry: “That’s where we start—Los Angeles, at the Olympic Games. . . . All the countries of the world send their best physical specimens, and we step in and take our pick.”
Jean: “Pick of what? No pockets in running suits, are there?”

Search for Beauty 1 Trainbound Larry talks Jean into idea

Entrained, Larry (Robert Armstrong) talks Jean (Gertrude Michael) into taking part in his latest scam.

The idea is to buy the defunct fitness magazine Health and Exercise, persuade a couple of world-famous athletes to act as its editors, and then relaunch it filled with pictures of Continue reading

Mystery Man, The (1935)

US / 62 minutes / bw / Monogram Dir: Raymond McCarey Pr: George Yohalem Scr: John Krafft, Rollo Lloyd, Wm. A. Johnston Story: Tate Finn Cine: Harry Neumann Cast: Robert Armstrong, Maxine Doyle, Henry Kolker, James Burke, Guy Usher, LeRoy Mason, Dell Henderson, Monte Collins, Norman Houston, James Burtis, Otto Fries, Sam Lufkin, Lee Shumway, Sam Flint.

Having solved the Upshaw murder case, investigative crime reporter Larry Doyle (Armstrong) of the Chicago Record—or Chicago World News (the movie offers both names)—is presented by a grateful police commission with a police-issue .45 revolver and by his managing editor, Elwyn (or Ellwyn) A. “Jo-Jo” Jonas (Kolker), with $50 from the newspaper’s owners. Larry uses part of the $50 to go out and get hammered with his reporting colleagues Dunn (Collins), Whalen (Burtis) and Weeks (Lufkin). When Jo-Jo finds them, Larry insults him, is fired on the spot and, next he knows, is arriving on the train in St. Louis with a hangover and barely a dollar to his name.

At the rail station he runs into pretty Ann Ogilvie (Doyle), who’s even broker than he is. Despite token resistance from her, he talks their way into the honeymoon suite of the swanky Commodore Hotel, whose manager, Clark (Henderson), believes they’re rich. Larry wires Jo-Jo for money and is given the brush-off; when he applies for a job at the St. Louis Daily News, Jo-Jo tells the city editor, Marvin (Burke), that Larry’s a faker, and Larry’s thrown out. In desperation, Larry and Ann take Larry’s presentation .45 to a pawnshop, whose owner, Nate (Fries), promptly sells it on to The Eel (Mason), a gangster who has been terrorizing the city and, after each new crime, phoning the authorities and the newspapers to taunt them.

That night Larry and Ann take the money from the pawn to the Trocadero Club in hopes of gambling it up to riches. As they leave, having failed in that, they find themselves caught up in The Eel’s latest robbery. Just before The Eel emerges from the club, his getaway man and a cop kill each other in a shootout. Larry takes refuge in the car; The Eel, not realizing his driver’s dead, kills a plainclothes cop, gives Larry the loot, and saunters back into the club, all innocent-like.

Mystery Man - the getaway man (uncredited) starts the gunplay

A getaway man and a cop (both uncredited) kill each other in a shootout outside the Trocadero Club.

Marvin, galvanized by the possibility of the scoop of the age, hires Larry. However, it proves The Eel was Continue reading