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

Thursday, April 30, 2015


TWENTY PLUS TWO (1961). Joseph M. Newman.

When Richard Diamond, Private Detective wound up its four season run, star David Janssen played a man who looks for missing people in Twenty Plus Two. Tom Alder (Janssen) has always been interested in the case of a girl who completely vanished 12 years ago when she was 16. At the same time, movie star Leroy Dane (Brad Dexter) discovers that the woman who answered his fan mail has been murdered. Jacques Pleshette (Jacques Aubuchon) then hires Alder to look into the disappearance of his brother, Auguste. Are these cases all connected in some way? Meandering through the story are three women: former love Linda (Jeanne Crain), who sent him a "Dear John" letter; hostess turned socialite, Nicki (Dina Merrill), whom Tom met in a post-war Tokyo; and Eleanor Delaney (Agnes Moorehead), the mother of the missing girl. Twenty Plus Two is fairly unpredictable and reasonably absorbing, but it ultimately adds up to nothing. It's one of those movies in which characters spend years covering up a "murder" that was clearly self-defense and yet never bother getting a good lawyer. Janssen is fine and the other actors are okay, but the picture is stolen by Moorehead, especially in a scene with Janssen when the two look at photos of the missing 16-year-old and realize that she's already turned into a woman. An unintentionally funny scene has teenage girls screaming over Brad Dexter [99 River Street] as if he were Troy Donahue! William Demarest [The Perils of Pauline] gives a superb performance as a bitter and drunken ex-reporter, walking off with the movie in one brief sequence.

Verdict: Like an extended Richard Diamond episode in CinemaScope. **1/2.

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