I love me some William Bendix. He’s one of those great character actors that you don’t necessarily notice at first but then he keeps showing up in small parts in all sorts of films and you go, “oh there’s that guy again.” And he’s always good. I probably first noticed him in The Glass Key (1942) where he played a jovial gangster who rather enjoyed beating up on Alan Ladd.
He’s a heavy in The Dark Corner as well, but he’s smarter and more crafty, but not nearly as fun to watch. He’s been hired by the film’s true villain to spy on the hero of our picture, Bradford Galt (Mark Stevens). He intentionally does a bad job of it so that Bradford will know someone’s keeping an eye on him. And then later trying to kill him.
Lucille Ball plays Galt’s secretary, but she doesn’t quite fit. Obviously, she was a gifted comedienne and a true treasure, I just wish they’d done something different with her character. They could have used her comedic talents and made something like The Thin Man where she wisecracks her way through the film. Or they could have made her the smartest person in the room. That’s what all the descriptions indicate she’ll be. I was expecting the Galt character to be rather dim-witted and she’s the smart secretary secretly solving all the crimes. Instead, she’s just a regular secretary and the love interest but is given very little of interest to do.
The story is fine, there are some good twists and it has the look of a good noir. But it never quite did it for me.
This makes yet another Noirvember film this month put into the just OK category. I fully expected this to happen as I intentionally picked relatively obscure films to watch instead of the well-known classics, but I have to admit I’m ready for something really good.