Friday, July 12, 2013

Tonight's Movie: Double Deal (1950)

DOUBLE DEAL is a model "B" movie, with interesting characters plus more twists and turns than can be found in many films much longer than DOUBLE DEAL's super-fast 64 minutes.

Richard Denning plays Buzz Doyle, who hops off a bus in the little town of Richfield. He's close to broke and before you know it he's broken up a crooked dice game and been offered a job working on an oil well.

The job offer comes from Reno (Carleton Young), whose vicious sister Lilly (Fay Baker of THE HOUSE ON TELEGRAPH HILL) carries an old grudge against him and does everything in her power to stop him from bringing in his well.

Buzz is attracted to Reno's partner Terry (Marie Windsor). Before you blink, Buzz and Terry are up to their eyeballs in murders, as the plot zigs and zags in unexpected directions.

There's a great performance by Thomas Browne Henry as a sheriff who initially seems set on railroading Buzz out of town but who turns out to be concerned about justice after all, and James Griffith is interesting as Walter, who appears to be Lilly's "kept man."

Taylor Holmes plays a perpetually inebriated lawyer, with Jim Hayward as the local bartender.

DOUBLE DEAL is, simply put, nothing out of the ordinary yet a very entertaining film which engages the viewer from start to finish. Marie Windsor's legions of fans will be especially happy as she's on screen a majority of the movie's running time.

The movie was directed by Abby Berlin, whose career consisted mostly of the BLONDIE movie series and later episodic TV work. He did also direct Marsha Hunt in the very entertaining MARY RYAN, DETECTIVE (1949) the previous year.

The movie was shot by Frank Redman, who filmed many of the FALCON movies. The film doesn't have an especially polished film noir look, but the movie's visual style is adequate for the story told.

This was the first film produced by Bel Air Productions; it was released by RKO. Bel Air's variable productions ranged from the entertaining EMERGENCY HOSPITAL (1956) to FORT BOWIE (1958), which has the unusual distinction of being possibly the worst Western I've ever seen. In the case of DOUBLE DEAL, Bel Air had a winner.

There's more on this film posted by Steve at Mystery File.

This film hasn't had a DVD or video release, but it has been shown on Turner Classic Movies.


Blogger Vienna said...

Sounds one for me,with Marie Windsor in it. Had never heard of it so will keep a look out for it.

12:04 AM  
Blogger john k said...

Firstly Laura,please forgive my somewhat flaky line breaks,
I hope I get to figure it out someday!
I was very interested to learn that DOUBLE DEAL was the first
Bel-Air Production,I really enjoyed a lot of the gritty Westerns
Lesley Selander made for them (WAR PAINT,FORT YUMA and so on.)
FORT BOWIE is not great but I have seen far worse!
I have not seen EMERGENCY HOSPITAL but would really like to,
also its one of the few films that Walter Reed had a lead role in.
Walter was one of Bel-Airs stock company players.
Also he was a regular in many Pine-Thomas films.
I saw him at a film convention in London back in the Seventies
but sadly in those days I knew little of his work. In hindsight
there is now stacks of stuff I would have loved to talked to him
One things for sure;there are just so many great B movies out there
awaiting re-discovery.I have been watching quiet a few Noirs with
Don Castle recently,such a handsome guy,really reminds me of John Russell.
Recently watched THE GUILTY (fantastic!) ROSES ARE RED and THE INVISIBLE
WALL. It was fun seeing a dark haired Jeff Chandler play a heavy in
the latter two films.
Also I have been very impressed with the series of "G-Man" films Louis
King made in the late thirties.TIP-OFF GIRLS,PRISON FARM and
outstanding. I am desperately now trying to track down Kings
ILLEGAL TRAFFIC.Really impressive casts in those films too!
Like many people I feel that these smaller budget films deliver
far more than many of the larger budget A films.
Laura,I do hope that you keep up the great job you are doing
in bringing these "lost" treasures to peoples attention.

5:19 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hope you get to see it, Vienna!

John, I hope you can see EMERGENCY HOSPITAL, it's one of those movies that might not be great but some of us really enjoy and appreciate. :)

I wasn't familiar with Don Castle until I saw him in HIGH TIDE at UCLA earlier this year.

I always appreciate your notes as they leave me with more titles on my "to find" list. I have a notepad by my computer and jot the titles down! :)

Thanks so much for your encouragement, John, I love to help keep these movies in the public eye and encourage others to seek them out and enjoy them.

Best wishes,

12:57 PM  
Blogger Vienna said...

Just found it on you tube and look forward to watching.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Excellent! Looking forward to your take on it.

Best wishes,

1:18 PM  

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