A man pretending to be a doctor holds up a train and escapes with a $500,000 payroll. The insurance company puts its best investigator, Charlie Norman, on the case to work. A pretty nifty film noir.
Steve McQueen plays a college dropout hired to be the getaway driver in a bank robbery. It’s based on a real 1953 case.
Mr. Arkadin is a French-Spanish-Swiss coproduction film written and directed by Orson Welles. Its history is quite convoluted; the story was based on an episode of the radio series The Lives of Harry Lime, which in turn was based on the character Welles portrayed in The Third Man. In addition, several different versions of the film were released. Jonathan Rosenbaum’s essay “The Seven Arkadins” is an attempt to detail the different versions including the novel and radio play. Adding to the confusion is a novel of the same title that was credited to Welles; Welles claimed the book was only ghostwritten with Maurice Bessy. In 1982 Welles described it as the ‘biggest disaster’ of his life, due to him losing creative control of the film.
Lawrence Tierney (“Reservoir Dogs”) plays an unreformed, hardened criminal who has just been released from prison. While working at his brother’s gas station, he becomes very interested in the armored car that makes regular stops at the bank across the street.
David Manners plays a crusading studio writer, Adrienne Ames plays an actress, Bela Lugosi plays a studio manager, and Edward Van Sloan plays a film director. The comedy thriller features three leading players from the previous year’s Dracula (Lugosi, Manners, and Van Sloan), and was the first film directed by Edwin L. Marin.
Pilot Peter Roma carries a precious amulet, but is shot down over China by a Russian agent who also wants the amulet.
Another James Lee Wong mystery places Mr. Wong (Boris Karloff) in San Francisco’s Chinatown when a smuggling ring on the waterfront kills Captain Street’s best friend Dan O’Grady.