Sunday, November 8, 2015

Below the Deadline (1946)

* out of 5

"I didn't lose a leg, but maybe I lost something inside me..."

Below the Deadline is a pretty representative exapmple of the kind of cheap noir quickies being pumped out by Monogram at this period-- no major stars, no fancy camera work or lighting, just grim stories about tough guys and dames.  Warren Douglas is a returning veteran who comes home to take over his dead brother's shady business, and tries to find the crooks who killed his brother so he can exact revenge.  His former C.O, from the war tries to convince him to go straight and join him in an airline business venture, but he like the money he gets from the business he's in.  It's more a gangster drama than a true noir, though it certainly plays with many of the themes found in the noir genre- the anti-hero, the femme fatale. the good girl, the slow drawing of the lead characters into darkness, it's just not got the potent direction and punchy filmmaking that sets apart the best examples of the genre.Besides director William "one-take" Beaudine, the one other name I actually recognized was the "story by" credit, which goes to Ivan Tors, who later would be more well known as the writer and producer of Flipper, Daktari, and other family-type tv shows and movies.  This appears to be the first appearance of his name in a film credits roll.

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