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

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Hillary Brooke and Philip Reed
BIG TOWN AFTER DARK (1947). Director: William C. Thomas.

This is the second of two 1947 films based on the radio show Big Town -- the first film was also called Big Town -- and it was followed by a TV series of the same name in the fifties, and even a comic book. Steve Wilson (Phillip Reed) is the managing editor of the Illustrated Press of a city known as Big Town. When his crime reporter, Lorelei (Hillary Brooke), decides to quit to write more novels, he immediately hires the publisher's niece, Susan (Ann Gillis) to take her place. But is she also taking Lorelei's place in his affections? When Steve and Susan go to a gambling den run by Chuck LaRue (Richard Travis), Steve gets into an altercation with employees and he fears that Susan has been kidnapped. Her uncle winds up being forced to invest in the gambling racket, but Steve has a trick or two up his sleeve and manages to uncover the full truth behind the story. Reed [Weekend for Three] and Brooke [Strange Impersonation] are professional if uninteresting, Gillis is fairly vivid, and the big surprise is that Richard Travis (Missile to the Moon) walks off with the picture with his zesty portrayal of LaRue -- the actor should have played more nasty bad guys in his career. The climax is suspenseful and while the movie is quite minor it is watchable.

Verdict: Radio with faces. **1/2.

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