DOUBLE DEAL is a model "B" movie, with interesting characters plus more twists and turns than can be found in many films much longer than DOUBLE DEAL's super-fast 64 minutes.
Richard Denning plays Buzz Doyle, who hops off a bus in the little town of Richfield. He's close to broke and before you know it he's broken up a crooked dice game and been offered a job working on an oil well.
The job offer comes from Reno (Carleton Young), whose vicious sister Lilly (Fay Baker of THE HOUSE ON TELEGRAPH HILL) carries an old grudge against him and does everything in her power to stop him from bringing in his well.
Buzz is attracted to Reno's partner Terry (Marie Windsor). Before you blink, Buzz and Terry are up to their eyeballs in murders, as the plot zigs and zags in unexpected directions.
There's a great performance by Thomas Browne Henry as a sheriff who initially seems set on railroading Buzz out of town but who turns out to be concerned about justice after all, and James Griffith is interesting as Walter, who appears to be Lilly's "kept man."
Taylor Holmes plays a perpetually inebriated lawyer, with Jim Hayward as the local bartender.
DOUBLE DEAL is, simply put, nothing out of the ordinary yet a very entertaining film which engages the viewer from start to finish. Marie Windsor's legions of fans will be especially happy as she's on screen a majority of the movie's running time.
The movie was directed by Abby Berlin, whose career consisted mostly of the BLONDIE movie series and later episodic TV work. He did also direct Marsha Hunt in the very entertaining MARY RYAN, DETECTIVE (1949) the previous year.
The movie was shot by Frank Redman, who filmed many of the FALCON movies. The film doesn't have an especially polished film noir look, but the movie's visual style is adequate for the story told.
This was the first film produced by Bel Air Productions; it was released by RKO. Bel Air's variable productions ranged from the entertaining EMERGENCY HOSPITAL (1956) to FORT BOWIE (1958), which has the unusual distinction of being possibly the worst Western I've ever seen. In the case of DOUBLE DEAL, Bel Air had a winner.
There's more on this film posted by Steve at Mystery File.
This film hasn't had a DVD or video release, but it has been shown on Turner Classic Movies.