“Why would anyone want to kill a nice person like the doctor?”
A portly private eye (J. Scott Smart) hired by a dental nurse (Jayne Meadows) to investigate the sudden murder of her boss (Ken Niles) soon learns that the survival of dental records from an ex-con (Rock Hudson) married to a cocktail waitress (Julie London) and friends with a clown (Emmett Till) may have something to do with the mystery.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Detectives and Private Eyes
- Flashback Films
- Murder Mystery
- Rock Hudson Films
- William Castle Films
Directed by William Castle and based on a radio series of the same name (created by Dashiell Hammett), this flashback-filled detective noir is primarily notable for an early co-starring presence by Hudson:
and for featuring the screen debut of world-famous clown Emmett Kelly (Ed Deets):
… who would co-star in The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) the following year. Unfortunately, Smart isn’t all that distinctive as a private dick; the fact that he enjoys eating isn’t particularly relevant or interesting.
However, the film as a whole is well-produced, and is worth a look for fans of the genre and era.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Irving Glassberg’s cinematography
No, though it’s worth a one-time look — and as a public domain title, it’s easy enough to find.