ACCUSED OF MURDER - 1956
This tale of murder was one of the first films made using "Republic Pictures" new widescreen process, NATURAMA. Lawyer Sidney Blackmer has annoyed his gangster employer, Richard Karlan. Blackmer beat Karlan out of 50 large on a crooked stock deal they had pulled. Blackmer has the hots for a lounge singer, Vera Ralston, and is spending the cash wining and dining the woman.
Karlan sends hit-man Warren Stevens to have a word or two about the cash. Stevens pays a visit to Blackmer at the club where Blackmer is watching Ralston perform. Pay back the cash, or face the music is the word given to the lawyer. Blackmer tells Stevens to blow.
This of course is the wrong thing to say. After her show, Ralston tells Blackmer that she really is not up to partying. Blackmer pulls out a case with a diamond ring, and hands it to her. Ralston refuses and gives the lawyer the "she just wants to be friends" line. She then exits and drives off in her car. Blackmer is somewhat taken aback by the rejection of Ralston to his advances.
Blackmer takes his car and likewise hits the road. Not far behind is hit-man Stevens. Blackmer drives to Ralston's place to have some more words. Stevens, parks up the lane and waits. He then follows when Blackmer's car takes off from Ralston's home.
Blackmer heads downtown to the seedy bar and dance club area where he parks on a dark street. Stevens likewise parks, he exits his car and heads towards Blackmer's automobile.
The camera now switches to a second floor dance club and weary 25 cents a dance veteran, Virginia Grey. Grey is all out after a night of spinning on the floor with the various Army, Navy and Marine types on leave that frequent the dance hall. She heads to the window to grab some fresh air.
Suddenly a car horn starts wailing from around the corner. This is followed by Warren Stevens returning to his car and driving off. After 3-4 minutes of listening to the horn wail, the club manager sends a man down to see what gives. He returns and says there is a dead man, (Blackmer) leaning on his horn. The Police are called.
Soon on the scene are Police Detectives, David Brian and Lee Van Cleef. Blackmer is of course recognized as an underworld lawyer. The Police question everyone but only Miss Grey steps up. She gives the Police a cock and bull story about a dance partner she had being upset with the world. Maybe he was the guy who killed Blackmer. She agrees to come in and look at the mug books.
The next day, Stevens pays a visit to mob boss Karlan's apartment. Karlan is looking at the newspaper headlines about the murder of Blackmer. He smiles and tosses Stevens a $5000 roll of cash.
At the same time, Miss Grey is going over the mug books at the station. She tells the detectives that the man is not there. They thank her and send her off. By now they have backtracked Blackmer to the fancy club where Ralston works. They have words with the staff and Ralston.
Detective David is quite taken with Miss Ralston while his partner, Van Cleef, puts her at the top of the suspect list. Ralston denies knowing anything about the shooting.
Hit-man Stevens hits his apartment and finds Virginia Grey camped out on his sofa. She had of course seen him run off after the shooting. She had then used the trip to look at mug books to find out Steven's name and address. Grey is sick of her job and figures Stevens will pay to keep her quiet.
Grey asks for a grand and gets a solid punch to the face instead. Stevens throw a hundred at her and says to beat it. If she blabs, he will kill her. Grey picks herself up and leaves.
The Detectives in the meantime are following up their only other lead, Miss Ralston. Van Cleef keeps at the line that Ralston had offed the pushy lawyer for hounding her. Brian really does not want to believe this as he has fallen for the dame.
Miss Grey, by now close to the bottom of a bourbon bottle, calls up Stevens. She threatens the man with the Police if he still refuses to fork over a grand. Stevens agrees and asks for her address. The drunken Grey gives up the address. Grey's roommate, Claire Carleton sees problems with this setup and rushes to a phone booth to call the cops.
The cops however are late as Stevens has already paid off Grey with a severe pistol whipping. He leaves Grey face down in a pool of blood for dead. Grey however is clinging to life and the Police rush her to the emergency. The Detectives manage to get a statement from Grey before surgery.
The Police raid Steven's place and Stevens goes down with a round in his shoulder. Brian tells the man he will get the chair for killing Blackmer. Steven denies he did the deed and instead fingers Ralston. He tells the Police that as he approached Blackmer's car, a shot rang out and Ralston exited the car. Stevens then left.
Ralston is collected by Brian and given a bit of third degree. This time she admits that she was there. She also tells the Detective that Blackmer had actually shot himself. He was upset over Ralston dumping him. It was his way of getting even. The Police go over the forensics and Ralston is cleared.
The weak story here is somewhat strange considering the man who knocked out the screenplay. W.R.Burnett (The Asphalt Jungle)cranked out some of the best stories and screenplays produced by Hollywood.
Accused of Murder
Crime / Drama / Film-Noir
Accused of Murder
Crime / Drama / Film-Noir
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April 30, 2022 at 09:38 PM