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


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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