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Noir-vember 2013: Sudden Danger

Posted by martinteller on November 26, 2013

“Lieutenant, what’s your next assignment?”
“I’m gonna send out an APB on a couple of beers… my treat.”

Five years ago, Wallace Curtis (Tom Drake) was blinded when he accidentally grabbed the wrong bottle for his eye drops.  As a result, he called off his engagement to girlfriend Phyllis Baxter (Beverly Garland), not wanting to marry her until he regains his vision.  He’s tried several operations and none have worked.  One day he comes home and finds his mother dead, an apparent suicide from gas asphyxiation.  But Lieutenant Detective Andy Doyle (Bill Elliott) isn’t convinced.

And blah blah blah.  What a shame I’ve ended my Noir-vember on such a sour note.  This is the first of the four “Andy Doyle” films.  I’d previously seen Chain of Evidence, and back then I wondered why this needed to be a recurring character.  I’m still wondering.  Elliott is so bland and the detective has no distinguishing characteristics.  In any other noir, he’d be the most forgettable one.  But here he’s in good company… the only mildly interesting character here is Minerva Urecal as the uptight, busybody landlady, and how many of those have we seen?  Everyone else is strictly dullsville.

The plot is thoroughly routine, a murder mystery that’s convoluted without being the least bit compelling.  There isn’t a colorful line of dialogue to be found, it’s all just the facts ma’am as everyone doles out exposition without any style.  The story takes no intriguing turns.  There isn’t a single tense scene.  The shots are completely uninspired… like the script, the camerawork only serves to present information.  The sets are cheap.  And the tedious score runs through practically the entire picture, adding nothing.

This dodges my “Crap” rating because nothing about it is truly bad or annoying.  It’s just so lifeless and unentertaining, purely by-the-book stuff without any inspiration.  Except for Urecal, the only reason to see it are a few cheesecake shots of girls wearing skimpy outfits in the fashion office where Wallace’s mom worked.  Rating: Poor (31)


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