CRIME, INC. PRC, 1945. Leo Carrillo, Tom Neal, Martha Tilton, Lionel Atwill, Grant Mitchell, Sheldon Leonard, Harry Shannon, Danny Morton, Virginia Vale. Director: Lew Landers.

   Some reviewers believe this to be one of bottom-rung studio PRC’s better efforts, and while this may be true, it doesn’t mean that it’s very good. The plot is perfunctory at best, and while viewers in 1945 may have enjoyed watching Martha Tilton sing, the songs do nothing to hold the rest of the story together, nothing more than an out-and-out crime film, some scenes of which are filmed in a nightclub.

   While Leo Carrillo gets top billing as a mid-level higher-up in a local crime syndicate, this is really Tom Neal’s movie, from beginning to end. He plays a brash young reporter (the only other kind in movies like this are the old embittered ones) who gets an edge on the police by befriending an upwardly mobile gangster (Danny Morton) who is making enemies of the gang currently in power.

   It may or may not be relevant that Martha Tilton plays the latter’s sister, so she gets to have more lines to say than in some of the other movies she was in. She acquits herself well, but then again so do most of the other players, most of them long-time veterans of movies like this. It’s only too bad they didn’t have better lines to say.