The "B" half of Friday's double bill at the Noir City Film Festival, following DEAD RECKONING (1947), was KEY WITNESS (1947).
You just never know what interesting things will turn up at Noir City, and KEY WITNESS was 67 minutes of goofball plot craziness. The constantly surprising plot twists at times elicited laughter, yet the movie was so entertaining that the audience applauded enthusiastically as the movie ended.
Milton Higby (John Beal) works as a draftsman but is a would-be inventor on the side, creating unique clocks and light switches. His wife Martha (Barbara Read, whose name was spelled Reed in the credits) despairs of his career ever amounting to much.
When Martha goes out of town, Milton goes to the racetrack with friends and wins a large sum of money. Unfortunately, while Milton is passed out after celebrating, a girl he'd just met (Helen Mowery) is shot and killed.
Milton doesn't stick around to clear his name but hits the road. Eventually he comes across another murder victim and takes his identity, as the long-lost son of a wealthy man. Milton and his new "father" even have success with his inventions, but eventually they lead to his true identity being uncovered.
Reunited with Martha, Milton is quickly, miraculously cleared of the murder...but then he's accused of murdering the man he's been impersonating, and he's sentenced to die.
All this and more in 67 minutes! I was fairly tired by the time this movie unspooled late in the evening, and it was definitely an interesting movie to watch through a slightly drowsy haze, which made an unreal plot seem even crazier.
The cast included Trudy Marshall, mother of actress Deborah Raffin, plus Jimmy Lloyd, Wilton Graff, William Newell, Selmer Jackson, Arthur Space, Victoria Horne, Pat O'Malley, and Douglas Fowley.
KEY WITNESS was directed by D. Ross Lederman and filmed in black and white by Philip Tannura.
KEY WITNESS was screened in a beautiful 35mm print.
This movie is available on DVD-R.