DEAD PIGEON ON BEETHOVEN STREET. Episode 25, Season 1, of Tatort, Germany, 07 January 1973. Original title: Tote Taube in der Beethovenstraße. Glenn Corbett, Christa Lang, Sieghardt Rupp, Anton Diffring, Stephanie Audran, Eric P. Caspar. Screenwriter-director: Sam Fuller. Novelization: Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street, by Samuel Fuller (Pyramid V3736, paperback original, 1974).

   To point up the difference between Promise and Genius, there’s Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street, written and directed by that certifiable madman Sam Fuller, auteur of Shock Corridor, Underworld USA and I Shot Jesse James.

   When he made this, Fuller hadn’t had control of a film since The Naked Kiss, seven years earlier, and it’s wonderful to see him right back in form, taking a standard plot (Glenn Corbett as an American Pl in Germany out to avenge the death of his partner . and retrieve incriminating photos of a client), pumping it full of energy and suffusing it with his own perverse artistry.

   There are some brilliantly edited action scenes, jarringly surreal tnise-en scene, and a story that stubbornly refuses to stay in its accustomed place. Fuller throws in some nifty extras as well, including bits of Rio Bravo in German, a cameo by Stephane Audran, and a wonderful turn from veteran character actor Alex D’Arcy.

   With his oily hair, vacuous leer and pencil mustache, D’Arcy was a Hollywood Fixture from the Silents through the Golden Age and well beyond, specializing in worthless heirs, effeminate gigolos and brainless fortune hunters (Remember him swapping derbies with Cary Grant in The Awful Truth?), and it’s a pleasure to see him once more, strutting his gaudy Nothing as amiably as ever, and kissing Glenn Corbett.

— Reprinted from The Hound of Dr. Johnson #7, May 2000.