DEADLY DUO. United Artists, 1962. Craig Hill Craig Hill, Marcia Henderson, Robert Lowery, Dayton Lummis, Carlos Romero, Irene Tedrow, David Renard. Based on the novel The Deadly Duo by Richard Jessup. Director: Reginald Le Borg.

   Based on the other work I’ve read by Richard Jessup, a fairly prolific writer of westerns and paperback crime fiction in the 50s and 60s, this might have been a good novel, an original from Dell in 1959, but even if the movie followed the book closely, which it very well may have, the translation still didn’t turn out all that well.

   The story elements are all there. Her son having been killed in a racing car accident, a wealthy woman wants to obtain custody rights to her grandson, now being raised by his now single mother (Marcia Henderson), a former stripper. To that end, he hires a struggling young attorney (Craig Hill) to go to Acapulco to offer the woman $500,000 to give up the child.

   When he gets there, she refuses outright, but her twin sister and her husband (Robert Lowery) have other ideas, one of which is murder, and of course you already know, I’m sure, how it is that they think they can pull it off.

   The plot is intricately structured and well planned out, but the ending is telegraphed well in advance, leading to a twist ending which is no surprise at all. There’s no fun in that! It is fun to see Marcia Henderson (whom I remember from her leading role in the long-forgotten TV series Dear Phoebe) play two roles, one a dark-haired and very prim and proper mother, the other a brassy blonde floozy whose dancing career is going nowhere, now that his sister has quit the act they had together.

   It is also fun to see how Robert Lowery, a long-time B-movie star in the 1940s, looked in the later stages of his career. With a mustache and generally older looks, he looks even more like Clark Gable or Cesar Romero than ever (on the left in the lowermost photo).