Saturday, May 19, 2018

THE REBEL SET (1959)



Allied Artists Pictures distributed this basement budget crime tale for E & L Productions. A one-time gesture apparently. About the only thing lowering this below other heist films of the period is the hilarious “pre-hippie” sub-culture. In this regard the film could stand alone. A position it richly deserves. Thankfully brief, the lame performances are the comedic low point in the movie though the opening jazz combo is cool enough. Dig it, daddio? Other than the opening, an innocuous score seems to be added without the director's knowledge. After an opening seemingly longer than fifteen minutes, the plot unfolds and the film does get better. But make no mistake, this film is funnier than intended. 


Edward “Sorry about that, Chief” Platt, steals the film and delivers a convincing performance as a scoundrel in studio makeup beard and silk lounging robe. A bit of humor can be found beyond the coffee house performers, thanks to quips from Ned Glass, Platt's leg man and wristwatch fence. Platt is certainly full of himself as he frequently quotes famous literary passages, making whomever he is with feel inferior. Glass assumes he is a master chess player because he never loses. On the contrary, he simply hand picks customers who cannot play the game well. He appears to be the biggest beatnik sellout. In reality, his Los Angeles coffee house provides him cover where sunglass-wearing weirdos with van dykes spout poetryafter a fashionor leotard-clad females attempt interpretative dance all in an effort to “find themselves” through overt behavior. As most surely know, bongo drums have a magically power to transform people into groovy cats. Can you dig it?


Being the wise judge of character he is, Platt condescendingly hires three frequent coffee house losers...uh...patrons he has been monitoring. He asks their help to rob an armored truck of one million clams during the stopover in Chicago of the Los Angeles to New York train. All three men could use a financial portfolio booster. Top-billed and obviously acting, Gregg Palmer, and his wife, Kathleen Crowley, are struggling because he cannot land any acting gigs. (He was lucky to get this one) She suspects he is not trying that hard. It is not that he lacks potential. He is quite believable when coming up with excuses. John Lupton has writer's block and Don Sullivan's only achievement, barring a few suicide attempts, is being the rich brat-of-a-son to his famous actress mommy.

The slickly planned and timed professional heist during the train's four hour layover in Chicago goes without a hitch as each do their assignment expertly. Assuming all things could go as planned, these scenes are feasible. Platt “shaves off” his studio beard and dons a clerical collar. A good disguise as all the elderly ladies on board think he is swell when quoting scripture. But one cannot judge a priest by his collar.


Sullivan's greed gets the best of him and he plans to keep the entire take for himself. When he turns up dead, Palmer suspects someone is not playing fair. Dig, my brother? He and Lupton spot a type-written suicide note designed to quell any suspicions. But Palmer astutely blurts, “Except that looks type-written.” Yes. It certainly does. Next up, Lupton departs the speeding train against his will. Palmer, finally buckling down to something, levels with his wife about his so-called all night casting calls then leads a police detective to the money's location. But it is missing.

Palmer initiates a long—can it only be seven minutes?—foot chase to capture Platt and his money-filled duffel bag through a rail yard in which the director never threw away any editing room footage. If it were an actual chase, both men would have been exhausted in the first minute. But film editing can do wonders for your stamina. Just when you think Platt will be pounced on, he escapes—his cane becomes a force to reckon with—under or over rail cars or climbing up boxcar ladders. Reset. Platt is spotted then disappears again. Reset. They each sprint through a locomotive shop being completely unnoticed. Reset. Palmer finally gets hands-on with Platt as the chase finally comes to...no wait...a railroad employee comes to the “reverend's” defense. After beating off the employee, Palmer is back in the chase after one wily priest for an electrifying finish.

Note: In the middle of that climatic chase we witness an odd placement of deliberate humor. Three hobos silently crawl forward on all fours to peer out from their individual, triangularly stacked large sewer pipe sections, wondering what all the commotion is about. When they spot the railroad police all three pop backward inside their pipe like a turtle in its shell. A scene seemingly lifted from a silent film comedy.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

SPLIT SECOND (1953)



This is Dick Powell’s directorial debut and he should have felt pretty good about the project. Roy Webb's powerful opening score adds a real sense of danger. Accompanied by a custom title font symbolizing electric voltage, it sets the movie up as, literally, an explosive tale of prisoners and hostages near a Nevada atomic test site. Interspersed with stock footage of an actual test, it is the one unique element about the movie. Beyond this, it is another, nearly forgotten, RKO crime thriller. The film does not get any more “B” than this, with actors, Stephen McNally, Jan Sterling, Alexis Smith, Robert Paige, Richard Egan and Keith Andes, all trying to stay alive in Arthur Hunnicutts’ neighborhood.

McNally is typecast again as a ruthless criminal and recent prison escapee. With a heart as small as an atom. His two cohorts, a badly wounded Paul Kelly, and Frank de Kova, as “Dummy,” are along for the ride of their lives. During their gas station stop, Smith and her affair, Paige, are taken hostage by McNally and his Dummy. At the same time, Andes is on his way to interview McNally, picking up Sterling along the way. One would think the interview would provide some bad press for the escapee, to say nothing about his whereabouts. Send the state troopers to “interview” him! Fortuitous timing as both parties end up meeting along the dusty highway. McNally hijacks Andes' station wagon. At this point the entire cast, minus Hunnicutt, is in this vehicle with barely enough room for dialogue. All positioned like a seasonal office portrait so that everyone can be seen. The cast head for an old resort town near the epicenter of an atomic test site. For obvious reason, it is now a ghost town. But in McNally's mind, it is the perfect hiding place.


Hunnicutt plays his usual backwoods character, this time as a prospector, an old-timer who remembers seminal moments from 1901. Hunnicutt’s real age and suspension of disbelief collide. After the cast has settled into a dusty building, he stumbles onto the entourage. All the characters are now intertwined into talkative, character developing scenes. Knowing he is irresistible, McNally makes a pass at both woman. First, Sterling, who appears to have rented a Shelly Winters style wig for her role. Her wound-tight platinum wig about to break a spring. Contrast this with her dark eyebrows, it symbolizes her life-long pent-up anger. It is a harsh look, but she has all the witty quips that typically end up in Powell’s scripts. The street-smart Sterling seems to have her head screwed on right, however. A more trustworthy person than the self-centered socialite and cowardly Smith, who begs McNally to take her with him, caring little for anyone else, even though Paige is standing right beside her. Paige is disgusted with the whole thing (outside his affair with Smith). He is always loudly threatening McNally. For an insurance broker, he lacks an abundance of common sense. He is unable to understand McNally’s persona in spite of obvious revelations. Paige ends up on the pointy-end of two bullets. McNally warned him several times to shut up.

McNally’s best bud is Kelly, who has a heart though barely beating. McNally found out that Smith’s husband is a doctor, played by Eganonce again cast as one half of a shaky relationship. McNally calls him from a phone booth in a nearby town and threatens to shoot Smith's head off if he does not come and save Kelly. Okay. That is clear. The operating scenes and the attempt to overpower McNally is tense and handled well by director, Powell.


Perhaps for their own amusement, those in command move the atomic test up one hour with actor, Clark Howat, calling the excruciatingly slow countdown. McNally makes a split section decision. Smith throws herself into the car with Kelly sandwiched in between. In their escape they go the wrong way, heading straight toward the detonating tower. Smith lets out a blood-curdling scream. Not enough to be mortally wounded, Kelly then loses his hearing. The funniest part is the bouncing miniature car as it backs up to go the other direction. Naturally, the real car gets stuck in the sand. Tense. The ending blast effects are good with the escape vehicle rolling with the nuclear winds providing a bit of a happy ending for some moviegoers. Except we lose that beloved criminal, Kelly.


Hunnicutt and the three remaining cast members found protection in an abandoned mine for the next fifteen years! All four completely forgot about “Dummy” who was knocked out during McNally's escape. Ooh. Sorry. Who's the dummy now?!

Note: RKO had planned their team of Victor Mature and Jane Russell to star as leads. Either would not have had as much of an impact, although the pairing might have brought in a few more moviegoers. Russell would have been typically bland in the Smith role. The latter being quite energetic yet with little doubt she is acting. She seems to go a bit atomic with her emotional swings. Emotions that would remain under the surface for Russell. McNally makes a much more disgusting criminal than Mature could have projected. Along with Egan, the three males co-star two years later in a more diverse crime story, “Violent Saturday.” Also set in desert climes with its own unique angle. An Amish family.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

THE DIAMOND WIZARD (1954)



Dennis O’Keefe’s character in this forgotten film may seem familiar. His excellent performance in the gritty, “T-men,” seven years before was a much tougher portrayal of a U.S Treasury agent, however. Perhaps that role gave him insight to write this film’s story as well as share in directorial duties. There is very little to fault here from an acting standpoint. O'Keefe again displays his ability to be a real charmer. Especially when it comes to a stewardess, Margaret Sheridan, whom he has met on previous flights. It is not hard to imagine that his character would be fun to be around or that he rarely has a totally bad day. He is always trying to lighten the moment with a quip. Or persistently trying to get a date. This eighty-three minute film was produced by Gibraltar Productions and released through United Artists. Somewhat pointless to mention today, the film was released in 3D. Unfortunately, moviegoers really never got their 3D money’s worth with limited opportunities to use the process.

After a million dollars is stolen from a treasury vault, the trail takes O’Keefe to London and with the assistance of Scotland Yard, they attempt to break up the racket. He and Philip Friend, the British detective he is teamed with, hit it off right out of the departure gate. They are always on the same page, each having an eye on Sheridan. The film is a procedural account of the authorities trying to find who is behind the profiteering from the sale of synthetic diamonds.

Sheridan transferred to a London hub to be with her father, a renowned atomic scientist, busy making synthetic diamonds for industrial research in a spooky mountain top castle rented from Dr. Frankenstein. The process is a dangerous mix of towering flames, giant dials, lights and switches. These laboratory scenes are in stark contrast to the mundane search by O’Keefe and Friend. A few abrupt edits back and forth between the scenes can be jolting and irritating. O’Keefe’s accumulating evidence suggests the scientist’s integrity may be in doubt. Sheridan refuses to believe it.

The film is a routine investigation with a slow beginning, but it is nonetheless an entertaining effort. Starring less competent actors, there might be a channel change in the first thirty minutes. But hang on for a worthwhile explosive ending. 

Note: A couple of scenes to mention. One, in a later Peter Yates style, has O'Keefe at the top of an escalator returning fire at a criminal holding a drawstring bag full of fake diamonds. The thief first falls backwards but the escalator slowly brings him back to the top as the diamonds spill out of his bag and roll to O’Keefe’s feet. Another is the filming of a ship's funnel as her steam whistle blows. Clever if not original, the camera then pans backward to reveal simply a model on the bridge of the real ship they are on.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

CONTRACTIONS: THE SILENT ERA


"FRANKLY, MY DEAR, I DO NOT GIVE A 
THOUGHT TO CONTRACTIONS"

I digress. In every movie I have commented on, not one actor had a problem pronouncing contractions. The apostrophe was recognized as having a reason. It eliminates a letter. That letter is silent because, not surprisingly, it is missing. The contraction was pronounced as it was spelled. They never invented a word to override the apostrophe, which defeats the purpose of a contracted word in the first place. I am not a grammarian. It is as simple as right and wrong. Two words that are highly debatable or at least controversial, today.

"OF ALL THE WORDS IN ALL THE TOWNS IN ALL 
THE WORLD, SHE PRONOUNCES 
CONTRACTIONS LIKE THAT"

Oddly, most contracted words are not mispronounced. The annoying habit typically contains an ending “d” of the first non-contracted word. Two common examples are the words, “didn’t” (did not) and “wouldn’t” (would not). They are not pronounced “dident” or “wouldent.” Nowhere is the word “dent” included in the spelling of the contracted word. Jane Greer “dident” say it. Sterling Hayden “wouldent” say it. Claire Trevor “dident” say it. The fabricated word is so beloved, however, some young females cannot resist its usage. Regardless of which sex dominates its usage, can we at least assume this “affliction” only affects those under forty? In a word. Yes’m. 

Thankfully, only a portion of a select group fall prey to this aberration. The few. The oblivious. The Millennials. Generation Y make up the majority of the offenders. Logically, we assume that they have no idea why an apostrophe is in a contraction or have never seen the word in print. Attempt to advise them on the proper pronunciation, their response is similar to a deer in headlights. If the “practice” were more widespread I might accept it, like I have accepted the combining of two words to make a confusing one, as in “Online,” “Linkedin” or “Login.” One can imagine the time I have saved by doing this. There may be some crossover offenders in Generation X but you cannot go back before that generation and expect contractions to be ignored. 

"WHAT WE'VE GOT HERE IS FAILURE 
OF COMMUNICATION"

I suspect technology and societal change can be rightfully blamed, given the increase in non-verbal communication. It takes time to search for an apostrophe on a smartphone. Just spell it in a letter arrangement of one's choosing. Like, "Your great!" instead of correctly spelling it, "You're great!" Not caring fits in there somewhere. Unintelligible, rapid speech does, indeed, gloss over them. Lack of educational discipline has to share some blame or maybe a parent with the same anomaly. These offenders have never been taught how to correctly pronounce certain common words at an early age. Teachers will no longer correct a student's “preference” for mispronouncing a word, fearing a lawsuit or defamation of character. If society has taught certain Millennials anything, it is that there are no rules which cannot be broken. 

There is no shortage of grammar guidelines on the Internet. Yet, apparently, they are very hard to find. I suspect this speech malady will not correct itself. One generation will screw it up for the next one. Abandoning the contraction altogether would solve these grating, airhead errors but I suspect mispronunciation may be due to one fact. It is physically easier. One needs the innate ability to place the tip of the tongue behind the front teeth, near the roof of their mouth, for that apostrophe. “That’s hard, dude. You can't make me do that!”

Note: One lame excuse would be to blame the, sometimes illogical, American way of spelling. To illustrate, the “t” in “often” is silent as is the second “d” in “hidden.” It is never two words, “hid den.” Though there is nothing odd about the spelling of "important," the curse of the "Ds" continues. One cannot replace the first "t" or the "a" in the word with a "d" and an "e." It is not, "impordent."

Saturday, April 7, 2018

TOWARD THE UNKNOWN (1956)



This is Warner Brothers first attempt to cash in on Paramount’s superior, “Strategic Air Command.” The film takes a serious look into the unknowns of supersonic flight research. Warner Color was back at it again the next year with a more sudsy air force story, “Bombers B-52,” which was primarily a project for rising star, Natalie Wood. Director Mervyn Leroy weaves this film dangerously close to a soap operacheck out the poster abovewhere long-term personal commitments are harder to come by with someone in a very dangerous occupation. Assuming you like aircraft of this era, this film works well thanks to an intelligent script by Beirne Lay, Jr. who also penned Paramount’s film as well as “Above and Beyond,” “Twelve O'Clock High” and others. The accuracy of the Air Force lingo, flight gear and location filming are spot on. Yet despite the famous lead actor, the casting mix places the film in the B-movie barracks. With the possible exception of Lloyd Nolan, the cast is a flight line of “bees” from Virginia Leith, Charles McGraw, Paul Fix, Karen Steele with a brief appearance by the ever-present, Bartlett Robinson. William Holden's own production company, Toluca Productions, may have been responsible for a tight casting budget. Though viewers did not know it then, James Garner’s brief film debut will catapult him into a Hollywood "A-lister." Considering Holden's overall body of work, this film falls nearer the bottom. Toward the unknown part.

With an enviable name for a legendary aviator or NFL quarterback, Holden is excellent as Lincoln Bond. The Major's charm and self-deprecating wit make him quite likable. But he has psychological issues. Holden returns to Edwards Air Force Base in hopes of being selected for the test pilot program. The story takes awhile to unfold but we eventually learn of Holden’s past as a Korean prisoner of war. Holden has an impressive early scene when he enters the headquarters building. He walks over to a wall full of famous test pilot hand prints. Among the likes of Chuck Yeager and Glenn Edwards we see Bond’s hand print. Holden presses his hand firmly over the inked impression as a supporting musical chord solidifies the scene. It also reveals wrist scars from his attempted suicide under those unimaginable atrocities. His cracking under those conditions does not bode well for a living-on-the-edge test pilot.


Nolan is always perfectly cast when carrying a good deal of authority. Here, as a commanding officer who is so wrapped up in first-hand test piloting, he does not know when to move on. His good friend and biggest supporter is McGraw, who pleads with Nolan to give him a second chance. Also from Holden's past is Leith. I have mentioned the occasionally strange vocal quality of this attractive actress before. Considering the era, one might think the studio would have provided (demanded?) voice training to eliminate her dark, goofy vocal moments. Today, this training would rarely, if ever, be considered. Unfortunately. She is feminine enough in a soft voice. But her voice placement retreats to the back of her throat when emoting or speaking while smiling. A distracting sound, even on an Air Force base. But I digress. She seems to be attached, off hours, with her boss, Nolan, whose age gap could pass him off as her uncle. She and Holden were an item before the war—speaking of niece and uncle—but she is reluctant to make any commitment. Her character is a bit puzzling. She would seem to be happy enough with Nolan unless Holden comes around. Maybe any dependable guy.


Given a number of second thoughts, Nolan cautiously eases Holden in on some testing. He gets his chance at the Martin XB-51, masquerading in this film as the Gilbert X-120. Character actor, Ralph Moody, plays H.G. Gilbert who assumes his plane is perfect and is arrogantly opposed to Holden's blunt assessment about a specific design flaw. When Garner loses his life because of this flaw, Moody is sheepishly humbled. Off camera. In private. We assume.


Nolan expects to pilot a research rocket plane, the Bell X-2. It is his baby. But unknown to Nolan, Holden witnessed his dizzy spell after an earlier test flight. Holden, being about a decade too old himself for this kind of thing, bluntly tells him, off the record, he would risk his life if he goes through with it. Reluctantly, he lets Holden take the flight. It becomes a troubled test with a necessary bailout. The hard parachute landing bangs Holden up with needed physical therapy in the aftermath. Reporting on Holden's progress, the base doctor also informs Nolan he would not have survived that high altitude bailout. Nolan gallantly takes a position in Washington DC with McGraw filling the base commander’s shoes.

Notes: Paul Baron provided an appropriately sensitive background score. He also weaves in the opening bars of “The U.S. Air Force” song with interesting arrangements. There are two instances, though, he or the studio creates a slightly humorous and startling “electronic” sound during two scenes of aircraft soaring high in the sky. A sound as if guitar strings are progressively tightened for a gradual higher pitch. It seems to be more appropriate for the famous Warner Brothers cartoons than a dangerously serious saga of test pilots.

For aviation historians, the Martin XB-51 and the other aircraft or stock footage, are the main draw of this movie. Never chosen for production, there were only two XB-51s built, both destroyed in crashes. An impressive flying sequence is a particularly unique head-on takeoff view along side its chase plane. Taken from a third plane already in the air, we watch both planes accelerate upward toward the unknown, zooming over the camera aircraft.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

THREE BLONDES IN HIS LIFE (1961)


This apparently single Golden Film Production—this poster is golden—surely struggled at the box office on its second weekend. The jazz-pop title song performed by a male vocal group gives this a lighthearted comedic setting but Tony Randall is not in this movie. Perhaps fair warning the film should not be taken too seriously. Though overlong at eighty-six minutes, it seems longer.

Famous stuntman, Jock Mahoney, plays an insurance investigator, aka private detective, who is hired to find out what happened to his company's missing detective and operative in Los Angeles. An airline ticket awaits from New York to Los Angeles aboard an American Airlines 707 Astrojet in classic red-orange lightning bolt livery. Black and white film does not do it justice. According to his inner thought voice-overs, the only thing on the investigator's mind are the women he has encountered throughout his travels. Handsome Mahoney goes by the name of Duke. Of course. He is not easily ruffled with the confidence and swagger to take on anything or anyone. He joins forces with his Los Angeles contact, cigar-chomping Jesse White. A guy who really loves apples. He is always eating or offering one. In the same token, we learn Mahoney's favorite alcoholic drink because he is either ordering one or being offered one. There is good chemistry between them and White's distinct delivery helps a very talkative script.


White picks up Mahoney at the airport in a convertible which becomes one of the most faked, budget-strained prop cars I have seen in film. No suggested car, windshield frame or dashboard. Just two guys sitting in front of a camera on an upholstered automotive bench with a steering wheel and column in front of rear-projected highway traffic. While “traveling” on a 4-lane freeway at speed, the production uses background recording of songbirds chirping as if they were sitting on a bench in a quiet, leafy park. Hilariously out of place. Doubly embarrassing for screenwriter and director, Leon Chooluck. A horn honk or two never crossed his mind.

There is so much explanatory dialogue your ears may shut down completely. Time is spent filming the principle cast members reading lengthy accident reports related to the case. Unless you are taking dictation, you may not keep things straight. Three blondes were involved with the missing investigator. When his cold body turns up it becomes a murder case. Mahoney's first blonde interview, Elaine Edwards, wife of the murdered detective, provides a backstory of major proportions. He is only able to stay awake by her seduction attemptsbeing so distraughtover her husband's recent demise. His second encounter, Valerie Porter, seems to have borrowed the same script. The silliest by far is Greta Thyssen in an ostentatious, fire-retardant wig. On cue, whenever she appears, we hear Hollywood's stereotypical sultry saxophone. She has a lot of “something more comfortable” wardrobe suggestions.


We do get to see Mahoney's stunt work as he is pushed down a stairway head first. Anthony Dexter shows up near the end of the film as the suggested pushee. Their later fight scene has Mahoney knocked to the floor on his back. As Dexter approaches, Mahoney sends him halfway across the room in a ninety degree squat position with his legs. Dexter is soon out of his element and his stand-in takes over. From one stuntman to another, the energetic fight is well choreographed. Police are called to the scene in a 1950 Nash traveling so fast in time it transforms into a 1956 Ford at the scene. Additional bad editing again comes from the sound department when Mahoney’s short voice-over line is obliterated by the sound of the company car’s engine starting up. The film ends with another “exciting” reading of the official report in an effort to explain the movie's outcome.

Note: This appears to be a television pilot movie which every network rejected. Speaking of television, this film may be the only indirect reference to the then popular, Gerald “Kookie” Kookson, III of “77 Sunset Strip” television fame. With a wry smile, Mahoney questions a young “cool cat” parking attendant if he ever watches television. The hipster's reply indicates he is familiar with the show.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

PRIVATE HELL 36 (1954)



This eighty-one minute noir centers on two detective pals coming to odds when one turns to the noir side. Outside the opening, this is about the extend of any real noir in this film. It is an independent film produced by “The Filmakers” team of Ida Lupino and Collier Young. Directed by Don Siegel, do not expect anything ground-breaking but it will not disappoint, thanks to a competent cast. The opening, in particular, is excellent as it leads to an off-duty detective stumbling perilously upon a store robbery. Leith Stevens' score with muted trumpets at the beginning add a jazzy, low key element and never overpowers the scenes. Unfortunately his best bit, the bouncy, multi-faceted tune entitled, “Daddy Long Legs,” is hidden in barely audible background music a couple of times in the film, the last being the meeting of the detective pals at a diner near the ending. The number 36 refers to a trailer park address, revealed in the closing minutes of the film.


Detectives Howard Duff and Steve Cochran are tasked with tracking down fake fifty dollar bills from a three hundred grand robbery. Their investigation first encounters two famous character actors and one less famous. King Donovan is one of the robbers and frequent guest of the police department. His face and torso hurting after a one-sided fight of realistic proportions with Cochran in that opening sequence. Dizzy, Donovan has trouble keeping his aliases straight. Another stolen fifty ends up with pharmacist, Richard Deacon, who is questioned about it. Though famous as the comic foil in the popular Dick Van Dyke television show, he is well cast in the meek, unassuming role. His prescription payment from a gall bladder patient, Marvin, leads them to one of the best character actors in the business, Dabbs “Marv” Greer. He is, as usual, one hundred percent believable. This time as a local bartender who thinks the cops are accusing him of a crime because he had one of the bills. He is quite defensive about it. Duff has a funny line here to reassure they are just asking where he got the fifty. He tells Greer, “Uh-uh, mind your bladder, Marv.”


The duo turn next to money enthusiast, Lupino, a nightclub singer, questioning her at length about how she came upon her fifty. She delivers a few witty lines at the expense of the detectives which Cochran finds very appealing. Against her preferred judgment, she is convinced to go along with their plan and ultimately identifies the man with the phony bills. A realistic car chase ensues with the period automobiles racing to the edge of tire adhesion. The fleeing thief is killed in a crash, learning too late the mountain's “Road Closed” sign was not a mere suggestion. You might say Cochran goes over another cliff when he pockets part of the stolen loot at the crash site. Most of it, he hopes, going to keep Lupino happy. Lots of luck there, pal.


Police Captain, Dean Jagger, who also opens and closes the film with sonorous voice-overs, calmly asks the cops later about the shortfall from the thief's suitcase. Cochran concocts a likely scenario. Duff sits silently fuming over his partner's blatant dishonesty. Obviously, the partners have a falling out with Cochran taking his obsessive downward spiral even lower with murder not out of the equation. The final scene offers a twist, all explained by Jagger's script.

Note: Ida Lupino performs part of one number, “Didn't You Know?,” yet she really does not sing it. She talk-sings it, never really zeroing in on any particular note. Unlike others who must talk their way through a song because they cannot carry a tune—Eva Gabor's “Green Acres” television theme is a prime example—she was musically talented. Her song interpretation simply was a bit humorous as Cochran goes off in dreamland listening to her “talk” while the piano plays.