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

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Richard Basehart
HE WALKED BY NIGHT (1948). Director: Alfred L. Werker.

A cop is murdered in L.A. and the hunt is on. There's no mystery as to the identity of the killer; it's a man variously known as Roy Martin or Roy Morgan, played well by Richard Basehart [Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea]. This police procedural follows Sgt. Brennan (Scott Brady) and his stern captain Breen (Roy Roberts of The Gale Storm Show) as they follow the trail to an electronics dealer named Paul Reeves (Whit Bissell, who also gives an excellent performance as a man innocently caught up in this murderous drama). Jack Webb, later of Dragnet fame, has a small role as a police technician who gives the cops some clues. The climax tales place in the same storm drains that figure in the finale of the giant ant thriller, Them, made six years later. This is well done and generally well-acted, with crisp cinematography, but the cinema verite approach strips the film of needed drama and intensity, and the characters are all one-dimensional. It holds the attention, but reminds one of a TV episode. Still, the film has its admirers.

Verdict: This could have used some giant ants. **1/2.

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