George Raft’s character in I STOLE A MILLION (1939) could well believe fate is against him,in fact it tramples all over him.
He’s a cab driver,keen to buy his cab. He gets fares ahead of the other cabbies and one of them monkeys with his brakes and the car ends up a write-off. Fortunately he’s not in it.
When he tries to and can’t get the $300 deposit on the taxi back,he takes the money anyway.
When the cops catch up with him, he punches them and hops a freight train.
From then on, things go straight down hill. He gets involved with gangster Victor Jory who asks him, “What’s your angle?” He replies, “I wheel a hack.”
Then he’s the wheel man in a bank robbery.
The only good thing that happens to him is meeting Claire Trevor, but even Claire’s love can’t save him. The downward spiral continues.
There’s some hope at the end of the film, but this is definite noir territory. Wish it had been John Payne in the lead. It’s well written.
DESTINATION MURDER 1950
Good start to this 1950 RKO thriller.Stanley Clements, as ‘Jackie’ leaves his girlfriend at a cinema during the intermission – he’s picked up in a car and taken to the home of a Mr. Mansfield. Jackie works for a messenger company and is in uniform . He shoots the man dead as he opens the door. The dead man’s daughter, Laura (Joyce MacKenzie) sees him leap over the garden fence as he takes off in the car back to the cinema.
Detective Brewster (James Flavin) gets Laura to check a line- up of messengers. She can’t be sure but gets Jackie to take her home. When she sees him jumping over the fence just like her father’s killer did,( he’s not very bright!), she goes to the police but is told to leave it to them.
Of course she doesn’t and sets out to prove Jackie’s guilt.
A good cast includes Hurd Hatfield,Albert Dekker,Myrna Dell and John Dehner.
THE UNGUARDED HOUR. 1936
In The Unguarded Hour,Hugh Lewis (Henry Daniell) is a blackmailer who threatens Helen Deardon (Loretta Young) with letters her husband,Sir Alan Dearden (Franchot Tone) had written to Lewis’s wife before Alan married Helen.
Helen pays up but the plot thickens when Alan,a lawyer is prosecuting a man accused of murdering his wife.
Helen know she saw the husband and wife when she was delivering the blackmail money but is reluctant to speak up, while Alan is making a circumstantial case against the accused.
Roland Young plays the friend of Alan and Helen and points out that the accused man’s vagueness may because he is innocent. Roland says, “We all at times have our unguarded hour when everything is against us, when we can’t remember faces or dates or places.”
To add to the problems,Lewis’s wife is found dead and Alan becomes a suspect.
The cast also has Lewis Stone, Jessie Ralph and E.E.Clive.
Based on a play, it’s a good drama .