For those of you tired of taking the long away around:



Minor, modest, B-grade - those are the terms you'd use to describe it, but I'd choose another: unnecessary. It's hard to make the argument that a movie is unnecessary, but - well, bear with me. Here's our anti-hero:



A gunman, living in a rooming house, with a cat. The cat indicates he is not completely devoid of redeeming characteristics. The role calls for someone who's laconic and cold - the sort of role Alan Ladd did well early in his career, for example. This guy just looks cheap and a bit mousy. After he kills a guy on the orders of a client, he meets him in a diner. The client is fussy, full of pretentious and cheery bluster - the sort of role Laird Cregar did so well. This guy is just annoying.



But there's a double-cross. Wouldn't you know it? A noir, with a double-cross? He takes it on the lam, and hooks up with a good-hearted blond:



She's full of pep! And spunk! And all-American can-do spirit! Gosh, she's swell. It's the sort of role Veronica Lake would never play. Which leads me to the film's worst problem: it's a remake of "This Gun for Hire," a fine little movie that was made 10 years before, and should have been stayed made. It's part of the B&W World noir series, here.

This is Chirpy LaBlonde's version of Veronica Lake's nightclub magic-act song. The camera will get back to her, but first it has to show us the guy who was spying on her, masquerading as a painting:




On and on it goes, and each scene is just acceptable enough so you don't change the channel or leave the theater. It's competent, and forgettable, and as I said: unncessary.

Which makes this all the sadder, I suppose: