US / 71 minutes / bw / PRC Dir & Story: Christy Cabanne Pr: Leon Fromkess Scr: Robert Lee Johnson Cine: James Brown Cast: Dave O’Brien, Kay Aldridge, Walter Catlett, Guinn “Big Boy” Williams, Isabel Randolph, Smith Ballew, Nancy June Robinson, Ruth Lee, Chester Clute, Vivien Oakland, Vicki Saunders, William B. Davidson, Tom Dugan, Eddy Waller, Don Brodie, Dick Elliott, Jack Raymond, Jack Mulhall, Lloyd Ingraham.
I have to admit it. The title, the packaging, the summary that I glanced at far too quickly—all of them conspired to make me think this movie was far more noirish than it actually is. To say it’s even of associational interest is to stretch matters a little. So, if it’s grim nihilism, thrills, suspense, psychological unraveling or any of that other good stuff that you’re after, look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you can tolerate a gentle romantic comedy, with echoes (no more) of the screwball and a subtext of social commentary, bear with me while I briefly (I promise!) talk about The Man who Walked Alone.
Dave O’Brien as Marion Scott and Eddy Waller as the old codger who taunts him as he tries to hitch a ride.
When we first meet Corporal Marion Scott (O’Brien) he’s on a dusty country road trying to Continue reading
“Ten o’clock? What do you think I am—a milkman?”
US / 63 minutes / bw / Paramount Dir: John Cromwell Scr: Oliver H.P. Garrett Story: Charles Furthmann Cine: Charles Lang Cast: William Powell, Kay Francis, Scott Kolk, William B. Davidson, Thomas E. Jackson, Harry Walker, James Finlayson, Charles West, Bertram Marburgh, Ernie Adams, John Elliott, Syd Saylor, Billy Bevan.
So successful is New York City defense attorney William B. “Bill” Foster (Powell) at getting his clients off, by fair means or foul—usually foul—that the DA, Herbert L. Stone (Davidson), is moved to describe him to the Bar Association as the greatest single threat to the city’s law enforcement. A cop named Daly (Jackson) has made it his life’s work to catch Bill perverting the course of justice and put him behind bars.
Daly (Thomas E. Jackson) on the trail.
We see Bill’s technique in action early in the movie when, defending palpably guilty Eddie Withers (Adams), he throws to the floor the key piece of the state’s evidence, a bottle supposedly containing Continue reading
How many of the long-ago guests is the killer prepared to kill?
US / 69 minutes / bw / M.H. Hoffman, Monogram Dir: Albert Ray Pr: M.H. Hoffman Scr: Frances Hyland Story: The Thirteenth Guest (1929) by Armitage Trail Cine: Harry Neumann, Tom Galligan Cast: Ginger Rogers, Lyle Talbot, J. Farrell MacDonald, Paul Hurst, Erville Alderson, Ethel Wales, James Eagles, Craufurd Kent (i.e., Crauford Kent), Eddie Phillips, Frances Rich, Phillips Smalley, Harry Tenbrook, Robert Klein, Adrienne Dore, William B. Davidson.
Naturally I discussed here on Noirish the remake of this movie—Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943) dir William Beaudine, with Helen Parrish, Dick Purcell, Tim Ryan et al.—before I got round to tackling the original. Ça va.
The plots of the two movies are virtually identical, so I’ll just go for a quick account here.
On her 21st birthday Marie Morgan (Rogers) arrives at the old Morgan home for an appointment with family lawyer John Barksdale (Klein). Although the place is dilapidated, phone and electricity have been installed. She bears a letter from her long-deceased grandpa containing the enigmatic instruction “13—13—13.” Yes, 13 years ago the family gathered here around a table at which the 13th chair was empty. Soon after, Grandpa died, leaving almost all of his fortune to the eight-year-old Marie. And now she’s due to inherit.
Ginger Rogers as Marie.
There’s a noise.
She goes to look.
A shot rings out.
There’s a scream.
Some while later the cops arrive in the form of Continue reading
vt Horror in the Night
US / 54 minutes / bw / Allied Pictures Dir: Albert Ray Pr: M.H. Hoffman Scr: Frances Hyland Cine: Harry Neumann, Tom Galligan Cast: Monte Blue, Lila Lee, William B. Davidson, Gwen Lee, Arthur Housman, Sidney Bracy, Mischa Auer, Harry Cording, Wilfred Lucas, Lynton Brent, John Beck, Allan Cavan.
Belonging to a grade that requires an extension of the alphabet beyond the letter Z—arguably quite far beyond—this can’t seem to decide which horse to back: should it be a murder mystery or a castaways-on-a-jungle-island Tarzan riff? It ends up being a bit of both but, alas, not very much of either.
The ship the Intruder is weathering heavy seas when it’s reported to Captain Rush (Cavan) that there’s been a terrible murder. He rushes to the scene and finds that the dead man is being guarded by Detective-Lieutenant Samson (Davidson) of the San Francisco PD. The corpse was a jewel thief named Gardiner, and Samson has been on his trail—and that of a trove of diamonds he stole—for months. He instructs a ship’s officer to Continue reading