Rabu, 16 Maret 2011

The Tattooed Stranger (1950) - Edward Montagne

The body of an unknown woman turns up in a stolen car abandoned in a New York park, and the only clue the detectives on the case have to work from is the tattoo on her arm, and the fact that someone tried to deface the corpse to remove the evidence. From this slender trail, and that of a single stem of grass discovered in the car, they gradually trace back first the victim and then her killer, in a case that's all science and legwork, and no magic inspiration.
Written by Igenlode Wordsmith

1950 NY Times review:

A revue entitled "Cosmopolitan" and introducing the new dance discovery, Gene Nelson, is the Music Hall stage show presentation.

Back in 1948 RKO Pathé turned out "Crime Lab" as one of its "This Is America" series of short subjects. That documentary on New York City's police detection methods met with enough approval to inspire "The Tattooed Stranger," the feature-length variation on this theme which came to the Palace yesterday. The move was justified. For this modest little melodrama, filmed here in its entirety by Edward J. Montagne, director, and Jay Bonafield, producer, who also were responsible for the short, approaches its story with a careful eye for the scientific and plodding, routine detail of modern sleuthing. The thrills are few and far between in this manhunt but its authenticity is obvious.

Although the cast members who enact the featured roles are not distinctive, the tightly written script keeps things moving fairly briskly as homicide detectives advance to track the murderer of an unidentified woman found in Central Park. From the laboratories, where dust, fingerprints and other evidence get microscopic attention, to tattoo parlors, where the unfortunate dame's sole identifying mark, a Marine Corps emblem, is traced, the cameras and cops move in a diligent tightening of the dragnet. And, en route, too, various local landmarks are captured, including the Museum of Natural History, the Botanical Gardens and the slum areas around the Navy Yard. A romance between one of the detectives and a pretty botanist, who helps him check rare flora also is injected but does not interfere with the major business on hand.

John Miles, a newcomer, competently plays a college-educated detective with a flair for scientific deduction. Walter Kinsella, his partner, demonstrates with equal competence the old timer's methods. And, Frank Tweddell, as their captain, and Patricia White, as the botanical expert and romantic interest, do well in the other leads. "The Tattooed Stranger," in short, is a tribute to the cops at work, and as such is interesting fare.

no pass

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