MANHANDLED. Paramount Pictures, 1949. Dorothy Lamour, Sterling Hayden, Dan Duryea, Irene Hervey. Director: Lewis R. Foster.

   I started writing this review by running through the basic plot, but after writing three or four lines, I gave up, realizing how dumb it all was. Let’s boil it down to this: crooked private eye frames psychiatrist’s secretary for murder.

   Dan Duryea plays the aforementioned PI in a manner that’ll curl your teeth — and I mean that in a good way. No one was better than he in roles like this. This is one he was meant to play.

   In an early role for him, Sterling Hayden plays a sympathetic insurance guy who’s nowhere to be seen when Miss Lamour needs him most, and the guys on the police force should be in the movies — as comedians. There will be times when I swear you will say that any resemblance to real life is totally coincidental.

   I enjoyed the movie anyway. It isn’t much of a detective or mystery story, but there are enough suspects involved for there to be a surprise or two, and if you can put up with the comedy bits, there are enough of the grimmer elements of the noir school of movie-making to make this a film worth watching out for.

— Reprinted and somewhat revised from Movie.File.8, January 1990.