favorite George Brent, was just released by the Warner Archive.
MEXICAN MANHUNT is a pleasant chase movie which was Brent's last starring feature film. It followed other enjoyable low-budget crime films with Brent such as FBI GIRL (1951) and MAN BAIT (1952). While MEXICAN MANHUNT is nothing particularly special, I found it an enjoyable 71 minutes, thanks largely to Brent's performance as a genial, unflappable crime writer.
Author Dave Brady (Brent) has been on the trail of a newspaper reporter who vanished from Los Angeles on the eve of a major crime trial 15 years previously. The reporter, Tip Morgan (Morris Ankrum), had learned key information regarding the trial but, after being threatened by mobsters, went into hiding in Mexico to protect his young daughter Linda (Karen Sharpe, who later married Stanley Kramer).
Dave, Tip, Linda, and the Morgans' longtime friend Pablo (Alberto Morin) have a wild ride north, traveling the back roads of Mexico in a convertible while chased by a motley assortment of bad guys (Hillary Brooke, Carleton Young, Stuart Randall, and Marvin Press).
The only problematic plot issue is that the identity of the "Mr. Big" type character is obvious from the first scene; however, that's circumvented by the fact that Dave is smart and figures it out about as quickly as the audience, acting accordingly, though the audience doesn't realize it till the end of the movie.
While most of the film is lighthearted, there's one scene of surprising poignance, and another which is disturbingly violent. "B" movie fans will also enjoy things such as the odd pronunciations of Los Angeles and especially Tucson.
The movie was largely shot on location; I'm not sure if it was actually in Mexico, but the rural auto courts don't look like anything I've seen in U.S. films.
The supporting cast includes Marjorie Lord, who has two scenes as Brent's girlfriend, and Douglas Kennedy.
MEXICAN MANHUNT was directed by Rex Bailey. It was filmed in black and white by William Sickner.
MEXICAN MANHUNT is a terrific-looking print; it's a joy to be able to watch a minor but enjoyable film such as this with a sharp, scratch-free picture, thanks to the Warner Archive. There are no extras.
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.