This week’s mystery movie was the 1952 film The Captive City, with John Forsythe, Joan Camden, Harold J. Kennedy, Marjorie Crossland, Victor Sutherland, Ray Teal, Martin Milner, Geraldine Hall, Hal K. Dawson, Ian Wolfe, Gladys Hurlbut, Jess Kirkpatrick and Sen. Estes Kefauver.
Music by Jerold Moross. Musical direction by Emil Newman.
Photography by Lee Garmes. Photographed by The Hoge Lenses.
Assistant to director Ralph Hoge. Designed by Maurice Zuberano. Edited by Robert Swink. Sound supervision by James G. Stewart. Sound by Tom Carmon. Photographic effects by William Reinhold. Assistant director Ivan Volkman. Casting director Jack Baur.
Produced by Theron Warth.
Directed by Robert Wise.
I chose The Captive City by going through the trades for 1952 and looking for a film that got good reviews. I thought I needed to atone for last week’s dismal A Majority of One. Fortunately, The Captive City is a first-rate film, and is in the same vein as The Phenix City Story (1955).
More on the history of the film is available from the AFI catalog.
Because this was an independent film, I’m guessing the New York Times sent a second-stringer to review it rather than Bosley Crowther. Possibly A.W. (Abe Weiler). I’m guessing it got a fairly good review. Let’s see.
Wrong on both counts! It’s Bosley himself and he hated it or at least did not approve of such goings-on (March 27, 1952):
If Senator Estes Kefavuer and his committee to investigate crime accomplished no more with the big show of disclosures that they put on last year, they certainly inspired a renascence of crime-crusading films. The Hollywood big boys and the small fry have been tumbling all over themselves turning out melodramas about the exposing of criminal overlords. Latest to smash onto Broadway is The Captive City, a crisp little film that comes equipped with an epilogic blessing of the senator himself. It hit the Criterion yesterday.
…But somewhere along about the middle of all these goings-on, an alert and knowing observer may spot some provoking holes. He may wonder, for instance, why the editor needs more pertinent and shocking evidence to lay before the public than a sequence of local crimes — the death of a private investigator, an attack upon a newspaper man who had photographed the “big shot” in the city and the murder of a woman witness who was about to talk.
In their screenplay, Karl Kamb and Alvin Josephy Jr. have almost completely overlooked the factor of public opinion and have let their editor behave as though he could not tell his story, though publishing a paper every day. For the sake of suspense in their picture, they have strangely isolated their man. The flaw in their screen playwriting is that they have fouled their hero in his newspaper work. Running to Senator Kefauver seems a weak and foolish thing for him to do.
For Monday, we have a mystery woman.
Update: This is Marjorie Crossland.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery gent.
Update: This is Victor Sutherland.
Note to Sylvia: You’re right!
For Wednesday, we have a mystery woman.
Update: This is Gladys Hurlbut.
For “Aha Thursday,” we have a mystery gent, and Back of the Head Guy.
Update: This is Ray Teal with John Forsythe as Back of the Head Guy.
We also have this mysterious gent.
Update: This is Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-Tenn.)
And finally, this mystery gent. His companion has been cropped out due to insufficient mysteriousness and will appear Friday.
Update: Adding mysterious leading man.
Update: This is Martin Milner and John Forsythe.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie and all mystery guests) and Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and all mystery guests).
Note to David: You will definitely want to see this movie. It’s a good one. Note to Sylvia: They are glue pots, used to paste together “takes” of stories written on paper. Very old school.
Update: This is John Forsythe, Joan Camden and Paul Brinegar.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Guy), Sarah (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests), Benito (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests Nos. 1 and 3), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie, Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Guy), Beach Gal (mystery movie, all mystery guests and Back of the Head Guy), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Guy), Funky PhD (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery woman, Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Guy), Alexa (mystery movie), Gary (Thursday’s mysterious future TV cop), Earl Boebert (mystery movie and Thursday’s mysterious future TV cop), B.J. Merholz (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests Nos. 1 and 3), Mike Hawks (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery gent and Thursday’s mystery guests), Mark G. (Thursday’s mysterious future TV cop), Michael Ryerson (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery woman and Thursday’s mystery guests), Sheila (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery gents Nos. 1 and 3) and Sylvia (mystery movie, mystery director and mystery cast).
Note to Howard Mandelbaum, Benito, Michael Ryerson and Sylvia: You all ended up in my spam folder, which is some sort of record. Thanks for your patience!