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Monday, January 9, 2017

Private Detective (1939)

Starring Jane Wyman, Dick Foran, Gloria Dickson, Maxie Rosenbloom, John Ridgely
Directed by Noel Smith
(actor & director credits courtesy

A female private detective gives up a job working for an unscrupulous attorney to aid his client's ex-wife instead, and tries to keep one step ahead of her boyfriend, a detective for the police.

Wyman stars as the lady detective, and a good one, in a film surprisingly free of the usual stereotypes about professional women, but the plot and characters are formula to the bone, echoing hundreds of mysteries where a smart aleck reporter tries to outsmart a police detective.  Nevertheless, it's still fun, and Maxie Rosenbloom is amusing as Foran's police sidekick whose main chore is to try to break down locked doors, not always successfully.  Although modern feminists would not be fans of the film's ending, Wyman is quite good in an atypical role, and future Dick Tracy Morgan Conway gives an accomplished performance as the oily lawyer.

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