Saturday, November 14, 2015

Incident (1948)

** out of 5

Incident is another William Beaudine quicky, lacking polish, but the central mystery is at least marginally engaging enough to keep it from being too boring.

Warren Douglas is Joe, who, as the odd Pete Smith-esque narration informs us, "could've gone back and let Bill drive him home, but if he has, we wouldn't be telling this story."

He gets mistakenly beaten up in an alley walking home from an evening with friends, and gets drawn into trying to figure out who did it to him and why.  In an odd bit of casting, Knuckles Morgan, the thug who mistakenly delivered the beating, is played by short, round, bespectacled, raspy voiced character actor Meyer Grace.

They man he was supposed to have given the working over is a shady character known only as "Slats," played with wild-eyed dangerousness and unsavory demeanor by Robert Osterloh.

Jane Frazee has perhaps the most interesting role as a girl who is suspiciously eager to help Joe find the gang behind his beating.  Interesting, because she turns out to be probably the smartest character in the film, and no wonder, when we learn that she is actually a gun-toting female insurance investigator on the trail of the gang for some fur robberies.

Her character's intelligence and quick thinking are a unique surprise in such a formulaic no-budget quickie, especially when compared with the more typically empty-headed female type in the film, played by Joyce Compton with such gratingly shrill denseness that one is almost inclined to agree with her husband Bill when he suggests she shut up.

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