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

Thursday, May 1, 2008


ILLEGAL (1955). Director: Lewis Allen.

When District Attorney Victor Scott (Edward G. Robinson) discovers that he's sent an innocent man to the electric chair, he resigns, drinks, and winds up in a downward spiral that leads to him working with hoodlum Frank Garland (Albert Dekker). There comes a conflict of interest when he defends a former associate and close friend, Ellen Miles (Nina Foch), who is accused of murder and whose defense is tied in with Garland's activities. Hugh Marlowe has one of his more interesting roles as Foch's husband, and Jayne Mansfield, chest out-thrust, plays one of Garland's girlfriends (her performance is mediocre at best). DeForest Kelley of Star Trek fame plays the innocent man who goes to the chair, and Ellen Corby scores as Scott's no-nonsense secretary. Illegal is a snappy if pat movie with a great performance by Robinson -- his drunk scenes are masterful. Jan Merlin makes a striking and sinister gunsel and hit man, Andy Garth, and Nina Foch does a nice job as well.

Verdict: Minor but entertaining. **1/2.

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