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Sunday, December 14, 2014

CODE TWO (1953)

A trio of testosterone-charged police recruits opt into the motorbike brigade for the action, for the extra pay . . . and for those cool uniforms. Jodhpurs! (The Harley-Davidsons have a certain appeal, too.) The first half of this little programmer sticks to training exercises (and Keenan Wynn’s mentoring), but once they hit the streets, one of the boys is bumped off by a modern day cattle rustlin’ outfit and his buds take up the case. A fun idea, a sort of Western on motorbikes. If only someone showed a bit of effort. Even a big climax featuring hanging cow carcasses, meat hooks and a huge, open vat of ‘quick lime’ barely registers under Fred Wilcox’s staid megging. (Imagine a fine noir sadist like Jules Dassin with that set up!) Oh well. Instead, check out the rising contract players being sent thru their paces, Ralph Meeker, Robert Horton, Jeff Richards and Chuck Connors in a bit.* The likely reason this one got made.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY/WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: *Meeker’s supposed to be cocky & irresistible, but comes off as a charmless asshole. Qualities that limited his career, but served him very well in Robert Aldrich’s KISS ME DEADLY/’55. Horton & Connors did mostly tv. And if you think you recognize the lesser-known (but built!) Jeff Richards, he’s one of those SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS/’54 . . . the non-dancer forced on director Stanley Donen.

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