Noir City Film Festival -- 20 in all!
I loved the entire festival lineup but I think possibly the film I enjoyed the most was the fast-paced "B" movie I WAS A SHOPLIFTER (1950), which was part of a double bill with CHICAGO DEADLINE (1949).
How could a fan of "B" and Universal films not enjoy a movie with a cast which included favorites like Scott Brady, Mona Freeman, Andrea King, Tony Curtis, Charles McGraw, Charles Drake, and Rock Hudson? There were also noticeable bit roles for the up-and-coming Peggie Castle and Ann Robinson. And yes, there's even an appearance by the ubiquitous Bess Flowers.
Detective Jeff Andrews (Brady), who's been working undercover posing as a shoplifter, comes to Faye's rescue while working to crack the gang of thieves. He also falls in love with Faye, but before they can have a happily ever after, Jeff and Faye must battle for their lives south of the border in Tijuana.
HE WALKED BY NIGHT) is a solid hero, with Freeman convincing as a somewhat disturbed young woman from a rich but unhappy family. (Jeff's blithe assurance that Faye can be quickly cured of her kleptomania is rather unintentionally amusing.) King is delightful as the criminal mastermind, especially when she realizes the game's up and urges her crazy enforcer (Curtis) not to kill anyone so that they won't be facing a murder charge.
Drake and Hudson are department store security men ("loss prevention," as we'd say these days), and McGraw is a detective. Castle and Robinson, along with Flowers, can be spotted as department store employees early in the film.
I suspect those who aren't "B" movie fans would be less taken with the film than I was, but for me it was quite a fun time at the movies. It was great to have a chance to see it, as it's not available on DVD.
I WAS A SHOPLIFTER was directed by Charles Lamont and filmed in black and white by Irving Glassberg.
Coming next: A review of WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS (1950), starring Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney.