Watching RIFF-RAFF, a typical RKO release of the period, I was impressed by Anne Jeffreys who plays a nightclub singer down in Panama , opposite a rather overweight Pat O’Brien as a private detective/Mr. Fixit called Dan Hammer – with some similarities in character to Kiss Me Deadly’s Mike Hammer.
The plot involves a missing map which has details of a valuable oil field. Those looking for it include Jerome Cowan and Walter Slezak.
Percy Kilbride adds a light touch as Hammer’s personal cab driver.
It’s well directed by Ted Tetzlaff, especially the opening sequences, but there is only so much he can do with a routine script.
I enjoyed Anne Jeffreys’ singing of ‘Money is the root of all evil’.
I was surprised to read that O’Brien was only 48 when he made this – he looks much older and any romance with the 25 year old Jeffreys just doesn’t work.
It’s a mystery why RKO didn’t hold onto Anne Jeffreys, an attractive blonde with a lovely singing voice. Anne’s career after 1948 was on stage and television, including the tv series “Topper” (1953-55), costarring with her husband, Robert Sterling.
Anne was most active from 1945 to 1948, during which she made three westerns, including two with Randolph Scott; two thrillers with Lawrence Tierney – Dillinger and Step by Step; and two Dick Tracy films, as Tess Trueheart.
(Anne died in 2017, aged 94. She had been married to Robert Sterling for over 50 years.)
For me, Riff Raff needed another leading man, like Bob Mitchum who would have been more believable .
Warner Archive brought out the dvd in 2015, but I have a Spanish issue from 2013 which came in a case and with a booklet essay (which I couldn’t read!).