Thu 26 Apr 2012
THE CRIMSON KEY. 20th Century Fox, 1947. Kent Taylor, Doris Dowling, Dennis Hoey, Louise Currey, Ivan Triesault, Bernadene Hayes, Victor Sen Young. Original story and screenplay: Irving Elman. Director: Eugene Forde. Shown at Cinevent 39, Columbus OH, May 2003.
This “B” film, independently produced by Sol Wurtzel for release by Fox back in 1947, was an entertaining (if somewhat muddled) crime drama, with Kent Taylor as private eye Larry Morgan attempting to sort out the conflicting loyalties (and dubious innocence) of the various characters (mostly women) who keep hiring him for what turn out to be motives that don’t make him a great favorite of the police.
It was fun to see Dennis Hoey, the befuddled Lestrade of the Sherlock Holmes series, as a befuddled husband, and Victor Sen Young, buried at the bottom of a very long list of credits (from which I resurrected him), registers strongly as a faithful, possibly sinister Oriental servant.
Kent Taylor’s crisp performance, dotted with breezy one-liners, validated his star billing, and Doris Dowling, Bernadene Hayes, and Louise Currie, played (respectively) two women who hire Taylor, and his faithful, seldom paid secretary.