FOLLOW ME QUIETLY was recommended to me this past week by Kristina Dijan and Karen Burroughs Hannsberry, and happily it just aired on Turner Classic Movies yesterday as part of a tribute to director Anthony Mann.
FOLLOW ME QUIETLY was one of two films for which Mann created the story; the other was DESPERATE (1947). Although FOLLOW ME QUIETLY was directed by Richard Fleischer (BODYGUARD, THE NARROW MARGIN), IMDb also lists Mann as doing uncredited directing work on the film.
FOLLOW ME QUIETLY is the story of two cops (William Lundigan and Jeff Corey) on the track of a serial killer named "The Judge" who strangles his victims on rainy nights. The cops are themselves followed by a crime magazine writer (Dorothy Patrick) hoping to get a scoop.
It's a straightforward tale but told with terrific flair and pacing. The movie's filled with marvelous shots taken from unique angles, such as the camera shooting through puffs of cigarette smoke in a police lineup room. Rapid-fire procedural scenes showing the detectives doing endless footwork are attractively filmed on evocative '40s backlot streets.
A sequence with Lundigan at his desk on a rainy night has to qualify as one of the scariest scenes I've seen recently; it was a sequence worthy of Hitchcock. The prolonged final chase scene, filmed on location at a gas refinery, was also excellent. This is a little movie with a great deal for film fans to enjoy.
William Lundigan and Dorothy Patrick had both spent time at MGM earlier in the '40s, where Patrick played the ill-fated wife in the film noir HIGH WALL (1947). Although Patrick's pouty reporter is initially as annoying to the audience as she is to Lundigan, they develop some nice chemistry, such as in a fun scene where he arrives home in a state of exhaustion, ready to go to sleep, only to discover she's invaded his apartment. From that point on, their romance zips along as quickly as the rest of the movie.
Jeff Corey may not be a familiar name, but he's definitely a familiar face, with over 225 film and TV credits spanning over six decades.
The cast also includes Frank Ferguson, a favorite of mine, as a newspaper publisher who becomes one of the Judge's victims. Nestor Paiva, Paul Guilfoyle, Charles D. Brown, and Robert Emmett Keane are also in the cast. Virginia Farmer, another of those great movie "faces," turns up as a bookstore saleslady.
The print which ran on Turner Classic Movies was excellent, showing off the gleaming black and white cinematography of RKO's Robert De Grasse.
This film was released on VHS as part of the RKO Collection. (If only more of that series of films would make it to DVD!) It's not been released on DVD in the United States, but it's had a Region 2 release in France. (Update: This film is now available on DVD from the Warner Archive!)
The trailer is at TCM.
Film noir fans should find this little-known film to be a nice surprise. Recommended.
2014 Update: Please visit my review of the Warner Archive DVD.