|Hardboiled: June Vincent|
With the help of his wife, Edna (June Vincent of The Creeper), Sam Grover (Wallace Ford) cooks up a scheme to fake his own death. He plans to meet up with Edna after she gets the insurance money, but doesn't realize that she really plans to run away with her lover, Ray (Mark Roberts of The Brothers Brannagan). But Edna doesn't reckon with Tom (Dick Hogan), Sam's son from his first marriage, who is convinced that his father was murdered. Another complication is the annoying presence of Huntington Stewart (Johnstone White of Anything for a Thrill), a private eye hired by Tom who really has only his own interests at heart. Shed No Tears is a twisty, suspenseful, and mostly unpredictable crime drama and borderline film noir (this has a femme fatale but no real hero) that boasts a sharp, outstanding performance by June Vincent, an excellent and unheralded actress who gets across her character's venality without ever once resorting to chewing the scenery. Johnstone White, who was introduced in this film (after actually appearing in several earlier productions), is also quite good and has a terrific scene with Vincent when he first confronts her with his suspicions. It may have been hoped that White would develop the kind of career enjoyed by Clifton Webb -- he's similarly florid -- but he had only a few credits. Dick Hogan has an appealing face and manner but his performance is only adequate; two years later he played the murder victim in Hitchcock's Rope, his last feature film appearance. Wallace Ford is acceptable but perfunctory in the key role of Sam Grover; he was much better in The Breaking Point. Frank Albertson is fine as a police detective who investigates Grover's death. June Vincent amassed 110 credits, many of which were on TV in her later years.
Verdict: Fast-paced, intriguing, and snappy crime meller. ***.