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I tuned in because of the intriguing title. I didn't even know the TV idea was around in the 1930's, so the plot came as a revelation. The movie itself, except for the TV premise, is fairly standard gangster boilerplate. A pseudo-respectable businessman uses his gangster underlings to sabotage inventor Dennis's new-fangled TV camera. Instead, he wants a collaborator's technology to get the expected market.
Columbia produced, so production values are respectable, especially the elaborate TV camera. All in all, the narrative is lively if not exactly gripping. But then the acting is better than the boilerplate, especially Astor in her pre-Maltese Falcon (1941) days. Also, scrawny Marc Lawrence is convincing as heck as the lead gangster, and might have stolen the film with more screen time. Talbot may not seem the inventor type, but he does show why he became a professional nice guy on TV's Ozzie & Harriet, and Bob Cummings Show, while muscle-man Pendleton ingratiates as comedic relief. From what I see here, I'm guessing that except for a disruptive WWII, TV would have gotten an earlier start as a mass medium. Apparently the technology was pretty much in place. Be that as it may, the movie's definitely a worthwhile curiosity and okay as entertainment.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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