Monday, June 13, 2011

Shoot To Kill (1947)

No bullseye but no misfire either....

- With a twist-filled, tangled web of a plot that skids by faster than a stray bullet, 1947's Shoot To Kill (AKA: Police Reporter) follows Tribune reporter "Mitch" Mitchell (Russell Wade) who for the sake of the story is on the case of escaped convicted murderer Dixie Logan (Robert Kent) who is out for revenge against crooked assistant D.A. Lawrence Dale (Edmund MacDonald) who is trying to cover up his mob-tainted tracks on the way to becoming the new District Attorney. Add Dale's ambitious secretary-turned-wife Marian (Luana Walters) who the mob wants to bump off and you have a pretty hardboiled pot of film noir jambalaya.

Shoot To Kill was quite obviously intended to be an inexpensive second feature for the studio and the film features some of the resulting usual B-movie hang-ups: the actors are not very good (though Wade, Walters, and Kent have their moments) and the teensy-weensy budget reduces some scenes to pure comedy (particularly a Matchbox car chase and a Charlie Chaplinesque stairwell fight scene).

Still, Shoot To Kill is not without merit. Director William Berke tells the tight, compact story well and employs some attractive low lighting in its presentation. The story itself also has a few satisfying twists that exceeds expectations and features some snappy dialogue now and again. Also, pianist Gene Rodgers gets a minute or two to show his dazzling jazz talent in the best, albeit most irrelevant to the story, scene in the film.

Hiccups galore, Shoot To Kill is a pretty entertaining low-budget B-movie second feature, most likely boring fair-weather filmgoers but tickling fans of the 40s hardboiled and film noir genres.

CBC Rating: 6/10

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