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

Thursday, January 22, 2015


New D.A. faces criminal lookalike; Don Castle plays both
ROSES ARE RED (1947). Director: James Tinling.

"I can't place the face but the feet are familiar."

Robert Thorne (Don Castle) has just become the new D.A. of an unspecified city. His photograph, along with some roses, is found near the body of a young woman who has been murdered. [No one ever expresses the slightest sympathy for this woman.] Thorne doesn't know the victim, and doesn't realize the photo is actually of his double, the crooked Don Carney. Thorne is kidnapped by Carney's confederates so the latter can study his movements and impersonate him with the help of corrupt police lieutenant, Wall (Joe Sawyer). Meanwhile Thorne's girlfriend, Martha (Peggy Knudsen of Hilda Crane), comes into contact with Carney's wife, Jill (Patricia Knight of Shockproof), when she tries to trace the photo. When the D.A. finally shows up again, is it Thorne or Carney, and how will Martha know the difference? Roses are Red is a modestly entertaining little low-budget flick with more than adequate performances and an intriguing premise that not enough is done with. Although Thorne is as brave as anyone, Castle makes him look realistically dismayed by and frightened of the situation he finds himself in. But the picture is stolen by Jeff Chandler [Raw Wind in Eden] in a very early role as thug John Jones, alias the Knuckle, displaying the sexy insolence that would eventually turn him into a star. Other familiar faces include Charles McGraw, James Arness, Douglas Fowley, and Charles Lane.

Verdict: Adequate in all departments, but that's about it. **.

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