|Steve Cochran and Ida Lupino have plans|
Detectives Cal Bruner (Steve Cochran) and Jack Farnham (Howard Duff) are trying to find some stolen loot and the guys who snatched it. When a marked $50 bill is given to chanteuse Lilli Marlowe (Ida Lupino) as a tip, they interview her to find out what she remembers about the generous club patron; Cal and Lilli are drawn to one another. Things take a dark turn when one of the two cops decides to pocket some of the aforementioned stolen loot ... Private Hell 36 is a minor crime drama with some good acting from all of the principals; Lupino is especially appealing as the slightly hard-bitten but likable saloon singer. Dean Jagger scores as the wise older boss of the two detectives, and Dorothy Malone is fine in the brief, thankless role of Farnham's wife [although Lupino and Duff were married at the time they are not paired with each other]. The script is credited to Lupino and her ex-husband, Collier Young. Borderline film noir. Director Siegel's best-known film is arguably Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Verdict: Interesting idea that's not developed all that well. **.