Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

THE UNKNOWN MAN


THE UNKNOWN MAN (1951). Director: Richard Thorpe.

Dwight Masen (Walter Pidgeon) defends a youth, Rudi (Keefe Braselle), who is accused of murdering a shop keeper's son as part of a protection racket. But there's a sinister figure behind the scenes, and when he gets murdered, too, Rudi also gets the blame. But the identity of this particular killer might be a big surprise. It would be criminal to give away the twists of this interesting, generally well-acted courtroom drama, but it certainly presents a bizarre, intriguing, and ultimately tragic situation. Lewis Stone is a judge, Ann Harding is Masen's wife, Richard Anderson is Dwight's son, and Barry Sullivan is the district attorney who prosecutes both cases. Pidgeon is better than usual. Konstantin Shayne is very affecting as the dead boy's devastated father.

Verdict; A bit perfunctory but not without interest. **1/2.

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