Crime / Drama / Film-Noir / Romance / Thriller

IMDb Rating 6.5 10 245

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN


Jeff Chandler as Chief McRae
Mike Mazurki as Hoppe
Jeanette Nolan as Major Ross
Frank Cady as Nolan - City Editor

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by robert-temple-1 8 / 10

Excellent thriller with social message

This excellent thriller deals with the sale of stolen babies by baby broker racketeers. It is thus more relevant to today, when this problem is much more widespread, than it was in 1949. The plot is sound, the script first rate, and the acting is extremely good. It is interesting to see an early Jeff Chandler performance, in a supporting role, before his hair went prematurely white, and when he was so thin he looked like he needed a good meal. There is some crackling dialogue: 'I couldn't sleep, so I took my gun for a walk,' and 'The idea of you going straight is like a vulture becoming a vegetarian.' Raymond Burr, to whom the latter remark is addressed, is a heavy of suitably sour disposition. Dennis O'Keefe is an excellent clean-cut B hero, and Gale Storm is a rather sombre and expressionless 'good girl' from a small town who has come to the wicked city in search of her murdered sister and her stolen baby; she is convincing, though unexciting. A sinister sub-plot about the father of the two sisters making his daughter get rid of her illegitimate baby seems to have been cut because it was too shocking, but enough of it survives to show that it was clearly once there. Maybe the producers thought they had enough of a social message without getting that grim and frightening their audiences further. The sale of stolen babies was an issue that needed raising, and it was thoroughly portrayed in this film well ahead of its time. The director, Joseph Newman, did an excellent job, and at one point showed off by cutting from a match being struck by one character to a lit match being used by another character. Every thriller director is entitled to at least one arty moment, especially if it hypes the pace of the action, though this was probably in the script by Irwin Gielgud. Probably the few good one-liners constituted the 'extra dialogue' by William Bowers.

Reviewed by secragt 6 / 10

Passable Black Market Baby Crime Drama

Okay, Dennis Okeefe and Gale Storm deliver competent performances and Marjorie Rambeau is effective as the matronly but menacing madam baby broker, but this movie is surely most memorable as the sole instance in which a young Raymond Burr (merely stout here, but still not thin) gets the s$#@ kicked out of him, which alone makes it worth the price of admission. Painfully corny narrative framing sequence at the beginning and the end (where there is a big unintentional laugh), but by and large a straightforward and enjoyable minor noir. At times a bit preachy perhaps and hardly a masterpiece but worth a look when it pops up on TCM late night.

Reviewed by bmacv 8 / 10

Quick and dirty crawl through babies-for-sale racket

In Abandoned's opening shot, that iconic edifice, the Los Angeles City Hall, looms menacingly into the night sky. From then on, it's a fast, rough ride through a brutal baby-adoption racket. Gale Storm is best remembered (if at all) as TV's My Little Margie, but she co-starred in a few noirs like Underworld Story and Between Midnight and Dawn; Abandoned is the best of them. She's come to town hunting for her vanished sister, knowing only that there's an out-of-wedlock baby girl involved. Storm links up with Dennis O'Keefe, a newspaper man, and Raymond Burr, a private detective supposedly hired by the missing girl's father back east (an enigmatic specter hanging over the story: Storm confides that her sister left home because "he wouldn't leave us alone"). Turns out that Sis was murdered for developing maternal instincts after having giving the baby up. The web of baby-nappers includes grandmotherly but lethal Marjorie Rambeau, some even less savory characters behind her, and, of course, Burr. Abandoned, despite its Hollywood-"happy" finish, stands as one of the grittier offerings in the noir cycle (Burr's being tortured with matches is one especially painful speck of grit).

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