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

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Barbara Payton and Paul Langton
MURDER IS MY BEAT (1955). Director: Edgar G. Ulmer.

"I hate the blunt destruction of human life. I'd seen enough killing in the South Pacific. "

Detective Ray Patrick (Paul Langton) investigates when a man is found dead with his head burning in the fireplace. The most obvious suspect is a blonde named Eden Lane (Barbara Payton), who has run off to parts unknown. Patrick finds her in an isolated cabin, brings her back to justice, but on the train she swears that she just saw the alleged murder victim on the platform. Falling in love with Eden, Patrick risks his job and freedom by getting off with the woman and pursuing this lead just in case she is actually innocent. But is she? Murder is My Beat is a minor but engaging crime thriller with a good performance from Langton [The Big Knife]. Payton [Bad Blonde] is not bad, but she seems so subdued at times that she almost appears to be drugged. Tracey Roberts is vivid as a friend of Eden's; Roy Gordon has a bigger role than usual as a businessman who was acquainted with Eden; and Robert Shayne [Cage of Evil] is okay as the police captain who looks for Patrick, as is Selena Royle as Gordon's wife. The perfect evocation of a cheap paperback thriller that keeps you turning pages nonetheless.

Verdict: Langton is a large part of why this works. ***.

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