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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Find The Blackmailer (1943)

Starring Jerome Cowan, Faye Emerson, Gene Lockhart, Marjorie Hoshelle, Robert Kent
Directed by D. Ross Lederman
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A private eye is hired by a politician to seize a talking crow used by his blackmailer, but the detective finds the blackmailer murdered, and the crow missing.

Although written like a hard-boiled mystery, the film has such an emphasis on comedy, and the plot's so convoluted, it plays more like a parody of the genre.  Cowan is perfectly cast in the lead role as smarmy detective D.L. Trees, and Lockhart is convincing as the ironically honest mayoral candidate whose deception of his fiancee has landed him in trouble with his conniving brother-in-law to be.  It's not the funniest film of its type, but the cast, playing all the film noir archetypes from cynical detective to femme fatale to dimwitted thugs, all appear to be having great fun in their roles, and the effect is infectious.

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