A governor planning to run for U.S. Senate has a secret past that could prove damaging to his political aspirations: he's a convicted murderer, and that will come to light if the FBI does ...
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A governor planning to run for U.S. Senate has a secret past that could prove damaging to his political aspirations: he's a convicted murderer, and that will come to light if the FBI does an investigative check on him. He goes to a local crime boss for help. The racketeer arranges for a low-level FBI employee to take the incriminating file from FBI headquarters, but then she is conveniently murdered. Two FBI agents investigating her murder begin to think that something isn't quite kosher.Written by
Simple but very effective story about murder and corruption
This is a pretty good moderate budget Noir film. While it was produced by small-time Lippert Productions, it did have some relatively well-known names. The lead FBI agent was played by Cesar Romero and in a supporting role was George Brent. This was quite a change for Brent, as in the 30s and much of the 40s, he was a star. Here, his role is relatively forgettable--Romero is definitely "the man". In addition, Audrey Trotter plays a significant role in the film. However, although these three were bigger names at the time, the most important and interesting part in the picture was played by Raymond Burr. This was long before he gained fame from television, during the late 40s and 50s he was a perennial supporting heavy in Noir films. Here, however, his role is bigger and more interesting that ones he played in such Noir classics as BORDERLINE, HIS KIND OF WOMAN, DESPERATE and RAW DEAL. That's because instead of just another thug taking orders, here he is the schemer who makes all the decisions. And, when need be, he's tough as nails and ruthless--such as when he smacks Trotter around when she doesn't give him what he wants! The plot of the film is rather timely, as crooked politicians aren't exactly an unknown concept these days. The governor of a state (which one is never mentioned) is afraid because he's actually wanted for murder under another name for a crime he committed many years ago. With plans for running for the Senate, he's naturally worried that his true identity will come to light. So, it's up to his "fix-it man", Burr, to infiltrate the FBI and destroy his record. However, the Bureau finds out that someone did the theft but aren't sure whose record was stolen or why. So it's up to Romero and Brent to investigate--and investigation that eventually leads them to Trotter.
The film is very high on realism though relatively low on excitement. While there are some very sensational moments (especially the cool ending with Romero and his Tommy Gun), the film is much less concerned with way-out Noir sensibilities (such as camera angles and snappy dialog) and more on the realistic portrayal of procedures. In some ways, this is rather reminiscent of the radio and TV show "Dragnet" in mood and structure and that results in a very watchable and interesting film made even more so by Burr's exceptional performance.
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