EXPOSED. Republic Pictures, 1947. Adele Mara (Belinda Prentice), Robert Scott, Lorna Gray, Adrian Booth, Robert Armstrong, William Haade, Bob Steele, Harry Shannon. Director: George Blair.

   It’s possible, depending on definitions, that this is the first movie in which a female private eye is the leading character. You may be thinking right away about Torchy Blane and the movies she was in, and I wouldn’t blame you, but she was a newspaper reporter with a good eye for crimes and who committed them, but no, she wasn’t a PI.

   Adele Mara is the PI in this one, a brash young lady named Belinda Prentice, but while she tries hard, she doesn’t have the patter that a good wisecracking PI needs in the movies (blame the writers). Not only that, but the fact that she needs a lovable lunk of an assistant named Iggy (William Haade) to get her out of scrapes is another strike against her.

   Noting that her father is the chief of homicide (played to perfection by Robert Armstrong), we can only agree that as an independent operator, Miss Prentice is pretty much a minor leaguer.

   It doesn’t help that the case she’s hired to work on (that of a father wanting to know why his son is taking so much money out of their firm’s account) is so muddled, even when it turns into a case of murder as so many cases such as this invariably do. Watch this and see if I’m not right. Muddled. And even so, there are too many scenes of people walking from one place to another, as well as automobiles driving in or off somewhere, as if they were a new invention.

   One scene does stand out, though, that of Iggy and Bob Steele’s character (a hood by the name of Chicago) having a smack ’em up, knock ’em down fight that’s well worth the price of admission (free on YouTube).