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

Thursday, September 3, 2009

MANHANDLED


MANHANDLED (1949). Director: Lewis R. Foster.

"I wouldn't dream of depriving you of the opportunity of making a vulgar display of yourself."

Alton Bennet (Alan Napier), an upper crust type with money problems, sees a psychiatrist (Harold Vermilyea) to tell him of a persistent nightmare he has in which he beats his rather trampy wife (Irene Hervey) to death with a very large perfume bottle. When the woman is murdered during a jewel robbery, the shrink's secretary Merl (Dorothy Lamour) becomes the chief suspect. Sterling Hayden plays Joe Cooper, the insurance investigator assigned to the case, while Art Smith and Irving Bacon are the police officers. Dan Duryea is suitably oily as a supposed friend of Lamour's, and Phillip Reed plays an attractive architect who is Mrs. Bennet's favorite date. Manhandled is no world-beater, but it holds the attention for the most part, has good performances, and some twists up its sleeve that you may not see coming. Napier [Alfred the Butler on Batman] certainly makes an impression as the snooty, oh-so-superior Bennet. Lamour handles this type of material with aplomb. Hervey is also vivid.

Verdict: More Noir Lite. **1/2.

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