Reading that ARGYLE SECRETS (1948) was part of the “Noir City Hollywood Festival” this April,I found that the film was available to view on You Tube.
Fans in Hollywood will see a pristine print restored by The Film Noir Foundation. I watched a copy which strained the eyes. Still, I could follow the movie’s short 64 minutes .
William Gargan plays a Washington reporter who gets caught up in what might be the biggest scoop of his career – the search for a dossier called The Argyle Album which contains the names of war profiteers.
Along the way, Gargan is pursued by the police ( led by a clueless Ralph Byrd) and by a motley band of crooks who want the album for blackmailing purposes.
The crooks include John Banner ( yes, that John Banner from “Hogan’s Heroes), Jack Reitzen ( looking like Sydney Greenstreet and doing his best to remind us of Peter Lorre in “The Maltese Falcon”) and Marjorie Lord in full Mary Astor /Brigid O’Shaughnessy mode .
There is a touch of “The Big Sleep”, as the plot thickens to such an extent I wasn’t sure what was happening.
Not helped by the fact that the script betrays its radio origins – director/writer Cy Endfield adapted his 30 minute 1945 “Suspense” episode called ‘The Argyle Album’. – although there is plenty of action, there are a couple of scenes where Gargan simply stands and tells you what’s going on. The film literally comes to a stand still.
And yet, there is much to enjoy in this film.I liked William Gargan as the reporter who won’t give up even though he is beaten up, shot at and accused of murder.
There are a couple of enjoyable lighter scenes and I wished the film had given more screen time to Marjorie Lord who impressed as the femme fatale who is ready to change sides if it suits her.
I do hope there will be a dvd release as I’d like to see it properly. It’s not perfect but it has a lot going for it.
It will be interesting to see reviews after the Hollywood screening.
As usual, I’m always amazed how much plot you can get in just over an hour..
I’m not aware I’ve seen Marjorie Lord (1918-2015) in anything else. She was active in the late 30s and in the 40s but found fame on television in “The Danny Thomas Show” for seven years.
Her first husband was John Archer and her daughter Anne Archer is also an actress.
Not a great part for Dick Tracy but Byrd does his best in the few scenes he is in.