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

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Robert Clarke
SECRET FILE HOLLYWOOD (1962). Director: Ralph Cushman (Rudolph Cusumano).

After an incident in a bar during which someone is shot, private eye Max Carter (Robert Clarke) loses his license. He gets mixed up with a shady lady named Nan (Francine York), who says she'll pay cash if he helps her set up a married director, James Cameron (John Warburton), with a babe and takes pictures for a scandal sheet. Gay takes her orders from a mysterious person who leaves instructions on audio tapes like something out of an old-time movie serial (although then they used records). The "babe" in the set-up is actually an actress named Gay Shelton (Maralou Gray), who simply wants to audition for Cameron in his home and has no idea of how she's to be used. When this whole business blows up in everyone's faces, a TV personality named Rutherford (uncredited) excoriates the scandal sheets on his show. Max and Gay team up to uncover the perpetrator behind the whole sleazy scheme. Secret File Hollywood is a cheap movie -- you can see the boom mike hovering overhead in half of the shots -- with a supporting cast of amateurs, but it is entertaining, and Clarke [Outrage; The Hideous Sun Demon], handsome and more than competent in the role, is perfect as Carter; he would have made a great lead in a private eye TV show.  York, Warburton. Gray, and Sydney Mason as "Hap," an associate of Nan's to whom Max owes money, also give good performances.

Verdict: Some good acting puts this over and Clarke is always appealing. **1/2.

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