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They Made Me a Killer

Posted by martinteller on November 30, 2012

“Are you going to stick to that fairy tale?  The big bad girl forced the good little boy to shoot two men!”

Tom Durling (Robert Lowery) has moved to California in search of a new life after his brother gets killed in an accident.  He wants to sell his car and finds a potential buyer in Betty (Lola Lane).  But first she needs her boyfriend Jack (Edmund MacDonald) to check it out.  It turns out the whole thing is a ruse, and Tom is forced at gunpoint to be the getaway driver for a bank robbery where two guards were killed.  He tries to overpower the others, but they end up getting away while he gets nabbed by the cops.  The only witness who can help him is Steve (Byron Barr), a sap with a crush on Betty who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Steve dies of his wounds before he can say anything useful, so Tom manages to escape… and meet up with Steve’s sister June (Barbara Britton).  Together they work to clear Tom’s and Steve’s names.

Not to be confused with They Made Me a Criminal or They Made Me a Fugitive.  Gonna make this pretty quick, got two movies I want to squeeze in before Noir-vember ends (not that I couldn’t watch noir whenever the hell I want, but you know).  This is a quick and dirty movie, with zero budget production value.  The sloppy rear projection, the cheap sets… even the fake newspaper headlines are half-assed.  It has a few good moments.  There’s some unintentional hilarity when Tom makes his escape… he dumps Steve’s recently-expired body on the cops!  A few minutes later, he punches a nurse.  He’s not set up as a paragon of virtue, he even considers trying to take the bank haul for himself.

But besides that, there’s not that much special going on here.  Performances are okay, the story is routine, the dialogue is fair, photography is bland (hard to say, though, with such a muddy copy).  The climax hinges on a technologically impossible plot device.  Yeah, it’s a short movie and on that basis alone might be worth your time if you’re particularly fond of the “clearing his name” scenario.  But it’s got no hook, no style.

But boy, I gotta admit it was pretty awesome when he dumped that corpse on those dudes.  Rating: Fair (62)


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