ABANDONED. Universal International Pictures, 1949. Dennis O’Keefe, Gale Storm, Marjorie Rambeau, Raymond Burr, Will Kuluva, Jeff Chandler, Meg Randall, Jeanette Nolan, Mike Mazurki. Director: Joseph M. Newman.


   Dennis O’Keefe makes for a good newpaper reporter in Abandoned, and Raymond Burr makes an even better private eye, one definitely on the shady side. Before he became Perry Mason and famous, as we’ve said before on this blog, he was best known for his villainous roles in cheap crime dramas, albeit often weak and shifty ones. His part in this movie, in other words, was tailor made for him.

   So what this is, as you may have guessed, is a cheap crime drama, but is it noir, as it’s often advertised as being? Not with Gale Storm in the leading role, even though the movie’s in black and white, with lots of noirish lighting and noirish dialogue.

   As the sister who died trying to regain her baby from a gang specializing in illegal baby adoptions, calling on Dennis O’Keefe for help, she’s too giggly and perky for the part (think My Little Margie). The ending, after a lot of gunfire and fatal automobile accidents, is also too upbeat for Abandoned to really fall into the noir category.


   But it comes close, indeed it does. And if the entire script had been part of the movie, if as I have a feeling it wasn’t, it would have been a whole lot closer.

   Unanswered by the movie I saw is the question of the two girls’ father, who hired Raymond Burr (the shady PI) in the first place, and the connection with the baby racketeers, whom Burr works for as well.

   And I’m sure I remember a scene in which Gale Storm’s character tells O’Keefe (the reporter) that the reason her sister left home and headed for LA, was because their father wouldn’t leave either one of them alone.

   Neither of these two threads of the story line is followed up on, but at the time this movie was made, all they could probably do is leave hints.