Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Violence (1947)

VIOLENCE (1947) is an offbeat crime film about a Los Angeles veterans organization, United Defenders, which is a front for racketeers and murderers.

The organization's secretary, Ann Mason (Nancy Coleman), is actually Ann Dwire, an investigative reporter. When Ann travels to Chicago after submitting her red-hot expose on the group to her publisher, she's involved in a car accident and suffers amnesia. Ann returns to L.A. and her job at United Defenders, not remembering she's really a reporter and that her life could be in danger due to her article.

Steve Fuller (Michael O'Shea), a law enforcement investigator, convinces Ann she's his fiancee and accompanies her back to L.A., where he works alongside the oblivious Ann to dig up dirt on the hoods.

Things get more interesting when evil Fred (Sheldon Leonard) of United Defenders smacks Ann; she's knocked out cold and when she wakes up she's no longer an amnesiac. She simultaneously realizes that Steve is a good guy and that just before she got her memory back she made a big mistake by tipping off United Defenders that he could be a problem for the organization. Confused yet?!

The film is a curious melding of postwar angst, mob drama, and amnesia; it's almost a little too much plot for a 72-minute film. It's interesting enough and I enjoyed it, yet one senses the movie could have been better if the film was a bit more coherent and energetic. Some more authentic Los Angeles atmosphere would have helped also.

Coleman (HER SISTER'S SECRET) is an interesting actress and makes the film worth watching, although she has to spend much of the film holding her head and trying to remember her past!

O'Shea is all right, although he made a stronger and more engaging impression on me in good supporting roles in films such as MR. DISTRICT ATTORNEY (1947) and SMART WOMAN (1948). O'Shea, incidentally, was long married to Virginia Mayo in his offscreen life.

Sheldon Leonard is always believable as a nasty heavy! The cast also includes Pierre Watkin, John Hamilton, Peter Whitney, Emory Parnell, Frank Reicher, and Cay Forester. Frank Cady (PETTICOAT JUNCTION and GREEN ACRES) has a small role.

The movie was written by Stanley Rubin and Lewis Lantz, directed by Jack Bernhard, and filmed by Henry Sharp.

This Monogram film was released by the Warner Archive in a beautiful remastered edition. There are no extras.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds interesting. I like Michael O'Shea, and as you say,none better than Sheldon Leonard as the heavy.

11:30 PM  
Blogger john k said...

Thanks for highlighting this film,it's been on my list for some time now.
I have enjoyed other films directed by Jack Bernhard especially DECOY and
BLONDE ICE with the mysterious Leslie Brooks,who should have had a far better
My first encounter with Michael O Shea was in LAST OF THE REDMEN a rare clunker
from George Sherman. He played "Hawkeye" and the rest of the cast towered over him,
I thought wow! this guy is a cut price Spencer Tracy.
You know you are in trouble when Buster Crabbe gives the best performance in the
entire film.
In spite of all this I have since really enjoyed O'Shes's performances in THE THREAT
I understand Mr O'Shea had a long and happy marriage to Virginia Mayo and when he
gave up acting worked for the CIA.
As I name dropped Leslie Brooks and George Sherman I thought I would mention that
I recently watched SECRET OF THE WHISTLER co starring Brooks and directed by Sherman.
Brooks is sensational in this entry which may be the best in a very strong
series. Sherman's direction is top notch as well.
I really wish Leslie Brooks had made more movies and BLONDE ICE needs a proper

6:21 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Vienna, let me know what you think if you check this out, it has a great cast even if it's not 100% successful. Worth taking a look.

John, I've not yet seen DECOY or BLONDE ICE, though I have both on hand. So many movies, so little time...! Loved reading your memories of O'Shea performances. I haven't seen a great many of his films yet. CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE (1945) and THE UNDERWORLD STORY (1950) are two more which come to mind.

What an interesting "second career" O'Shea had!

Looking forward to SECRET OF THE WHISTLER which I also have on hand. Leslie Brooks first came to my attention in a pair of favorite Rita Hayworth films, YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER (1942) and TONIGHT AND EVERY NIGHT (1945).

Best wishes,

11:25 AM  

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