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

Thursday, October 22, 2009


THE MISSING JUROR (1944). Director: Budd Boetticher.

"A man named 'Apple?' Funny name, Apple. Bet he's a peach!"

Reporter Joe Keats (Jim Bannon) gets on the trail of a mad killer when he discovers that several jurors on a notorious murder trial have been killed in mysterious "accidents." Harry Wharton (George Macready) was convicted of murdering a woman he loved, but it was discovered that he'd been framed. Although the truth came out before Wharton could be executed, the experience unhinges him and he commits suicide in a sanitarium. Now someone is executing all the jurors. Keats tries to protect the other jurists, and especially bonds with a pretty gal named Alice (Janis Carter). Jean Stevens is Alice's sexy gal pal, Tex Tuttle; Mike Mazurki is Cullie, the masseur; and Trevor Bardette certainly scores as Pierson, who confesses to the murders at one point. The Missing Juror is a snappy, well-acted, and entertaining programmer, but the main problem is that the solution is apparent almost from the first. Macready gives a terrific performance as the haunted Wharton in flashbacks. Joseph Crehan is Willard Apple, editor of the Record-Herald that Keats works for. Macready had one of the most distinctive voices in Hollywood. Jim Bannon was also in Unknown World. Trevor Bardette appeared in about a thousand movies.

Verdict: Another reason to get out of jury duty. **1/2.

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