CONFIDENCE GIRL. 1952

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As is often the case, the above poster is misleading,making you think HILLARY BROOKE is the driving force in CONFIDENCE GIRL. In fact it is TOM CONWAY who propels the action in this film which is written,produced and directed by Andrew L. Stone.
Mr.Stone wrote a complex plot but didnt spend too much time breathing life into his characters.

Tom Conway is a registered private detective but he uses his position to plan and execute elaborate scams and cons. Hillary Brooke is his reluctant accomplice who partners him but hopes,some day, they will marry and settle down. (There is absolutely no chemistry between them.)
Trouble is Conway enjoys outdoing insurance companies,shops and even the police.

Conway’s biggest scheme is a little reminiscent of THE STING, in that it involves a large group of helpers to stage it. Hillary pretends to be a clairvoyant opening a show at Conway’s pal’s nightclub.
The staff hook up all the tables with microphones and they spy on the customers with binoculars,picking up any information they can – which is then relayed to Hillary who has an earpiece and receiver.
The plan is that the customers will be so impressed by Hillary that they will ask for private readings and she will tell them to buy phoney bonds.

At the same time, Conway is playing cat and mouse with the police.
It really is quite a good plot but Tom Conway is a weak lead and Hillary Brooke doesn’t get enough to do.

Hillary Brooke

Hillary Brooke

THE POWER OF THE WHISTLER. 1945

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I know we are supposed to suspend belief when watching many movies,but THE POWER OF THE WHISTLER proved a stretch too far.

RICHARD DIX is back in the Whistler series ,this time as a man who has lost his memory. He drifts into a cafe, The Salt Shaker, where sisters JANIS CARTER and JEFF DONNELL are sitting at a table playing cards with Jeff’s boyfriend (LOREN TINDALL – a name new to me)
Janis sees Dix sitting at the bar and suddenly decides to see what the cards say about him. The prediction is death within 24 hours!

Janis likes the look of him and follows him out of the bar to warn him.
Before you know it, she has invited him back to the flat she shares with Jeff! (Remember, he is a complete stranger to her).

She decides to help him find out who he is,using the items he has on him – a railway schedule, a receipt for roses, an order for a birthday cake and a doctor’s prescription ( which turns out to be for poison).
Jeff is reluctantly persuaded to help. Between them they speak to various folk including TALA BIRELL and JOHN ABBOTT, trying to solve the mystery.

Meanwhile, while Dix is around, things die! – a little girls’s cat, Jeff’s pet bird and a squirrel in the park.
It turns out he has escaped from a mental hospital. Janis ( finally!) begins to get suspicious.

It’s not a bad plot,just needed better writing.

ADVENTURE ISLAND. 1947

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Set in the South Seas, PAUL KELLY and JOHN ABBOTT have been given 30 days to get off the tropical island. RORY CALHOUN joins them after saving Paul’s life from quicksand.
Paul is a disgraced ship’s captain who is given a second chance to take a cargo of champagne to Sydney.Abbott and Calhoun set sail with him.RHONDA FLEMING is a stowaway – her late father was the previous captain of the ship.

They find that the ‘champagne’ is only water and that Rhonda’s father planned to scuttle the ship and claim the insurance.
They come upon an uncharted island ruled by ALAN NAPIER who doesn’t take kindly to strangers… An action filled plot from a Robert Louis Stevenson novel. Made in Tru-color, unfortunately my copy was B&W .
Another good Pine- Thomas production.

I’d love to see the 1937 version, EBB TIDE , with RAY MILLAND, LLOYD NOLAN, FRANCES FARMER,BARRY FITZGERALD.

4 responses »

  1. I love these triple bills that you come up with Vienna,
    they are great fun!
    Never even heard of CONFIDENCE GIRL and I must say it
    sounds rather diverting.
    My copy of ADVENTURE ISLAND is in color but,its not in
    great shape.The film is interesting as it was made by
    Pine-Thomas as they were coming towards the end of their
    B Movie output at Paramount and moving into A movies.
    Always really liked Rhonda and she was a Pine-Thomas
    regular. Someone told me that she had a “Nose-Job” after
    ADVENTURE ISLAND was made,I do not know if there is any
    truth in that but her appearance did change after that film.
    The Pine-Thomas films are lots of fun,someone sent me a lovely
    upgrade of CROSSWINDS recently,also with Rhonda and John
    Abbott.This one has John Payne up against crooked Forrest
    Tucker,headhunters,crocodiles and a couple of really nasty Brits.
    Despite all this he still finds time to romance Rhonda……..what a guy!

  2. Rhonda was mostly seen in color during the Fifties and
    quiet right too!
    However she did look magnificent in black and white and rain-
    drenched in Budd Boettichers THE KILLER IS LOOSE.
    Back to CROSSWINDS I must admit that John Abbott and
    Alan Mowbray make a formidable bad-guy team,they effortlessly
    steal every scene that they are in. Must check if they made any other
    films together.

  3. I can imagine Mowbray and Abbott being a good team. I’ve seen John Abbott in a few films lately. A good character actor.

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