APOLOGY FOR MURDER. PRC, 1945. Hugh Beaumont, Ann Savage, Russell Hicks, Charles D. Brown. Director: Sam Newfield.

   Not so very long ago, as you may recall, David Vineyard reviewed a film entitled The Walls Came Tumbling Down, which he called a probably intentional homage to another film entitled The Maltese Falcon. As coincidences sometimes do, coming in pairs, here’s another film, this time from low budget PRC (which does *not* stand for Poverty Row Corporation, although it easily could do so) which is another homage, this time in honor of another well known film noir, this one entitled Double Indemnity.

   As legend or even truth may have it, the working title of Apology for Murder was Single Indemnity, or it was until the people at Paramount got wind of it, and that was the end of that.

   Playing Fred MacMurray’s role was Hugh Beaumont as a brash young reporter who gets involved with the wife (Ann Savage, shortly before she became a short-lived star in a movie titled Detour) of a much older businessman who is becoming more and more tired of her extravagant ways. And she more and more tired of him. What she needs is a way out.

   Her solution to this well-traveled dilemma comes along, most fortuitously for her, in person of Hugh Beaumont’s character, who, as brash as he is, is no match to the charms of the unhappy wife. Their mutual solution (but mostly her idea, when it comes down to it) is the obvious one. After which point things most naturally so sour. When Miss Savage takes up with a lawyer to help break her late husband’s will, it leaves Mr. Beaumont with, well, nothing, and when his editor gets this crazy idea that the accidental death was not really an accident, the walls really start closing in.

   It’s not really a bad picture, but even the dimmest member of the audience will know exactly what will happen next, each step of the way.

    Arthur Lyons, in his book on B level films noir, Death on the Cheap, somewhat challenges the generally accepted idea that the film was a direct ripoff of Double Indemnity. What he suggests is that it might have been based on the same true story which James Cain based his book of the same title on. Lyons goes on to say: “… either way, this is no Double Indemnity, although Ann Savage paints as powerful a picture of sinister femininity as she did of a nasty virago in the noir cult classic Detour.”