Monday, January 16, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Find the Blackmailer (1943)

When FIND THE BLACKMAILER (1943) ended, I had the strangest feeling that I had no idea what I'd just seen!

This Warner Bros. "B" movie barrels along at a rapid-fire pace for 55 minutes. It's sort of amusing, yet the overstuffed plot is just about impossible to follow.

Jerome Cowan, the ill-fated Miles Archer of THE MALTESE FALCON (1941), later played detectives in a couple of Warner Bros. "B" movies. His private eye in FIND THE BLACKMAILER is named D.L. Tree. The following year he played Detective Sam Campbell in the more engaging CRIME BY NIGHT (1944), costarring Jane Wyman.

In FIND THE BLACKMAILER Detective Tree is broke, to the chagrin of his loyal gal Friday (and possible love interest) Pandora Pines (Marjorie Hoshelle), who hasn't been paid recently.

Financial help arrives in the form of new client John Rhodes (Gene Lockhart). Rhodes is running for office and about to get married, but he's the target of a blackmailer.

I lost track of the plot after the first 15 minutes. There's something about a talking crow who can frame Rhodes, Faye Emerson is a femme fatale, and John Harmon plays a bodyguard/ventriloquist. I had no idea what was going on, but I enjoyed Cowan's quips and his bantering relationship with Hoshelle. (This appears to have been her biggest role.) The film moved so quickly it didn't have time to wear out its welcome.

FIND THE BLACKMAILER was written by Robert E. Kent (no relation to actor Robert Kent, who plays Harper). It was directed by D. Ross Lederman and filmed by James Van Trees.

The trailer is on the TCM website; the film can be seen on TCM from time to time.


Blogger KC said...

Pandora Pines? What a name! I feel like I've been baffled by a movie the way you describe here, but of course I can't remember which ones made me feel that way.

7:04 PM  
Blogger barrylane said...

Marjorie Hoshelle was married to Jeff Chandler until 1959, and never remarried. They had two daughters, and their stories are human in the best sense, but tragic, and not of their own making. Well worth checking out.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

It was a funny name! The detective calls her "Pan."

How very interesting that Marjorie Hoshelle married Jeff Chandler, I had not come across that information and appreciate the info. I liked her in this, she was a main reason the movie was worth sticking with despite its baffling plot.

Best wishes,

7:39 PM  

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