Sunday, August 11, 2019

Tonight's Movie: Double Danger (1938) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Preston Foster stars in DOUBLE DANGER (1938), an entertaining RKO "B" film just released on DVD by the Warner Archive.

I first saw DOUBLE DANGER in 2013; it was one of a couple films, along with THE HUNTED (1948), which caused me to become quite a fan of Foster.

In DOUBLE DANGER Foster plays a charming thief, while a decade later he was a lovelorn cop in THE HUNTED. I loved him in both, and since then have reviewed a great many of his films. I'm really delighted that DOUBLE DANGER finally joins THE HUNTED in being available from the Warner Archive.

DOUBLE DANGER finds Foster playing Bob Crane, a mystery writer who, as mentioned, has a secret life as a thief nicknamed "The Gentleman."

The Police Commissioner (Samuel S. Hinds) has helped Bob with ideas for his "Gentleman" mysteries but also suspects Bob may be "The Gentleman" in real life.  The Chief also suspects Carolyn (Whitney Bourne) could be the thief, for reasons which are not quite clear to me, and he invites both Bob and Carolyn to visit his palatial estate.

The Commissioner intends to set a trap and catch "The Gentleman" once and for all, but I'm afraid the Commissioner looks smarter than he really is, and pretty much nothing seems to go as he plans.

DOUBLE DANGER is a zippy little movie with Foster and Bourne charming as sparring jewel thieves who fall in love. I love Foster's relaxed, romantic manner, and Bourne is simultaneously pretty and spunky. It makes sense the pair would be attracted to one another, much like the thieves of TROUBLE IN PARADISE (1932). The movie may not be great art but I sure find it fun to watch.

Foster and Bourne are ably supported by a fine cast including Cecil Kellaway (particularly good as Bob's valet/assistant thief in training), Paul Guilfoyle, Donald Meek, Arthur Lake, June Johnson, and Edythe Elliott.

A brief note of clarity for Foster fans: Foster played a police detective named Bill Crane in a trio of late '30s mysteries; I reviewed two of the films, THE WESTLAND CASE (1937) and THE LADY IN THE MORGUE (1938), here. Those characters have no relationship to his role as Bob Crane in DOUBLE DANGER.

DOUBLE DANGER was directed by Lew Landers, who made many fast-paced, enjoyable "B" films for RKO; indeed, this one runs 62 minutes. The movie was shot in black and white by Frank Redman. Arthur T. Horman and J. Robert Bren wrote the screenplay from Horman's story.

There are a couple scenes where large vertical streaks appear on screen, the first time being roughly halfway through the picture. These moments are brief, and for the most part the print is excellent, with good sound. There are no extras on the disc.

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 or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.

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