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

Thursday, May 31, 2018


Marjorie Lord
THE STRANGE MRS. CRANE (1948), Director: Sherman Scott (Sam Newfield).

Gina Crane (Marjorie Lord of Sherlock Holmes in Washington) is married to Clinton Crane (Pierre Watkin of a zillion movies), a gubernatorial candidate. Clinton is unaware that Gina used to be known as Jenny Hadley, and she was mixed up in shady business with old flame Floyd Durant (Robert Shayne). When Floyd tries to blackmail Gina, she stabs him, but the one who gets arrested for the murder is his girlfriend, Barbara (Ruth Brady). Then Gina winds up as the foreperson on the jury and does her best to get Barbara convicted! Marjorie Lord, who is best known as Danny Thomas' wife on the sitcom Make Room For Daddy, is competent but never really gets across the character's utterly ruthless nature, but the screenplay and the pic's short running time don't exactly help her, either. Poor Pierre Watkin is also competent as her husband but just as utterly undistinguished as ever -- was there ever a more bland if amazingly prolific actor in the movies? Robert Shayne [The Neanderthal Man] doesn't do much to make his unpleasant character come alive, but Ruth Brady is a bit more energetic as Barbara. James Seay [Meet Boston Blackie] is Barbara's lawyer, Mark; Claire Whitney is her employer, Edna; and Mary Gordon is the housekeeper, Nora. The plot is completely absurd, but the flick is entertaining and has a neat wind-up.

Verdict: You never know who you'll get on a jury! **1/2.

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