Directed by Lesley Selander
Screen Play by Royal K. Cole
Original Story by Robert Leslie Bellem
Additional Dialogue by Albert DeMond
Director Of Photography: Reggie Lanning
Cast: William Marshall (Dan Turner), Adele Mara (Sylvia Duane), Ricardo Cortez (Ziggy Cranston), Grant Withers (Inspector Donaldson), Stephanie Bachelor (Carla), Richard Fraser (Antoine le Blanc), Roy Barcroft (Spice Kellaway), George J. Lewis (Blue Chip Winslow), Robert J. Wilke
For starters, in this quirky, fun Noir we get not one but two Femme Fatales: slinky, mysterious Stephanie Batchelor and Republic’s regular sweetie Adele Mara.
L.A showbiz tycoon (Ricardo Cortez) with a gambling addiction, is slipped a Shanghai-ball by a tomato (as the script would have it) and becomes involved in a shakedown, murder and blackmail.
To sort out this mess, he hires a New York gumshoe (William Marshall, who certainly puts the “hard” in hard-nosed). No sooner has Marshall arrived on the scene when Cortez is framed for another murder. Marshall not only has to contend with gambling syndicate goons, but also a police chief (Grant Withers) who resents this East Coast interloper on his patch.
Stylishly shot by Reggie Lanning, we get a barrage of one-liners from serial expert Royal Cole. The fast pacing is what we’ve come to expect from Lesley Selander. There is a car chase and three slug-fests….the final one is a real doozy. With the constant flow of hardboiled dialogue, the audience is given another mystery to decipher: was the film intended as a parody of private eye flicks? The cast plays it pretty much straight.
My favorite one-liners:
Withers (on first encountering Adele Mara): “Who’s this bright young tomato”
Marshall: “She’s this years entry for mis-information.”
It gets better:
Withers (after Marshall bursts into his office): “I have a desk clerk to announce visitors, that includes shamuses and other vermin.”
Marshall:” Is this a bureau of homicide or insecticide?”
Marshall’s favorite tipple is a dry Martini without the olive… it takes up too much room in the glass. He’s endearingly unlikeable in this film, but apparently was not too likable in real life. According to imdb, when Marshall was directing Adventures Of Captain Fabian (1951), Errol Flynn got so fed up with Marshall’s bombastic attitude, he stormed off the set. Marshall had to complete the film using Flynn’s stunt double. The picture was a critical and commercial flop, and Marshall didn’t directed another film until The Phantom Planet (1961), a cult favorite. Marshall was married several times. Three of his wives were actresses: Michele Morgan, Micheline Presle and Ginger Rogers.