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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MURDER IS MY BEAT (1955)

With that title, and Z-budget specialist Edgar G. Ulmer helming, you expect something better than a wan little film noir that keeps stumbling over its own storyline. Paul Langton, a sort of sub-Dana Andrews type, is okay as a gruff police dick who goes on the lam with the very dame he snagged on a murder charge. The gimmick is that she spots the ‘dead’ guy as their train pulls out of the station on her way to jail. Say! If the guy ain’t dead, she just might be innocent! Right? So, natch, the detective hides the dame and goes looking for Mr Mystery . . . even though she knows what he looks like and he doesn’t. Huh? There’s a handful of similar gaffes in the plot which Ulmer wisely coasts right past, but without much enthusiasm. The main reason to check this out is to see hard-luck ingenue Barbara Payton in her final role, all worn out at the ripe age of 28. Payton never quite recovered from a bad relationship with actor Tom Neal, ironically the chump in Ulmer’s classic minimalist noir, DETOUR/’45. It’s a chance to watch a gal whose future is all used up play a gal whose future is all used up. Instructional . . . but depressing.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Ulmer followed this up with THE NAKED DAWN/’55 one of his least known successes, a near-musical Western with decent production values & cast. Not yet out Stateside, Europe has it on DVD & Blu-Ray. Here’s a YOUTUBE link for resolution tolerant folk:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3q9g2YxNojc

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