Accused Of Murder (1956)

JOSEPH KANE

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

USA, 1956. . Screenplay by , , based on the novel by W.R. Burnett. Cinematography by . Produced by Joseph Kane. Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

A seemingly simple noir from a poverty row studio that actually packs a lot of punch in its bright, colourful visuals and surprisingly gritty violence. plays a high-priced defense attorney who swats away accusations of corruption that come at him because of his defending mobsters in court, then pleads with his girlfriend (former ice skater ) to marry him and is distraught by her rejection.

Later that night, a divey dance joint has its atmosphere ruined by the sound of a honking horn, which turns out to be Blackmer’s dead body slumped over in the front seat of his car. Two police inspectors look into his murder, one of them (a young ) convinced that it was Ralston who did the deed while his superior officer doubts it, complicating his own involvement in the case by falling in love with her.

Meanwhile, on the wrong side of the law, taxi dancer gives the police an alibi for a scarfaced hood () and tries to blackmail him into buying her silence, which gets her far more trouble than she bargained for.

Shot in an off-brand version of Technicolour that actually looks terrific now, with fewer gradations in the colour palette to give it the feel of a comic strip panel, this entertaining little number has few surprises in its plot but is sincere and solid throughout.

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