Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Detective/Mysteries - Mike Perry ""

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Underrated Detective/Mysteries - Mike Perry

Mike Perry of has been an avid film and movie memorabilia collector since his first allowance and has well over 7500 titles in a collection that continues to grow.

St. Ives (1976)
Charles Bronson Light. Charlie joins forces with the amazingly beautiful Jacqueline Bisset for this blackmail murder mystery with an outstanding cast consisting of Maximilian Schell and John Houseman. Houseman is a wealthy man with a past he would like to keep hidden. Enter crime writer Mr. Bronson who is hired to retrieve some stolen journals that are essentially a diary of Houseman’s criminal exploits. With bodies piling up all around, Bronson seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself in a film that allowed him to sit back and let other characters hold the weapons. What’s not to like when Miss Bissett is constantly flirting with you. Between murder scenes and becoming a suspect himself Bronson is constantly fencing with local detectives Harry Guardino and Harris Yulin on his way to solving the misdeeds played out for our benefit.

My Favorite Brunette (1947)
Bob Hope subs here for private eye Alan Ladd who is seen briefly at the start to set up the confusion. Bob soon gets more than he bargained for when sultry Dorothy Lamour walks in to hire a private eye. Before Bob knows it he’s being led by the ski nose as frequent co-star Lamour finds herself in and out of danger while bringing Bob along for the ride. With plenty of Hope one liners we get the murderous Peter Lorre and the gregarious Lon Chaney Jr. in full Lenny mode who are out to terrorize Bob at every twist and turn of the sinister plot being told by our would be hero from Death Row. Under no circumstances tune out before the final gag. It’s a classic.

The Black Cat  (1941)
Familiar territory here of the old dark house variety. But with a cast including Basil Rathbone, Alan Ladd, Gale Sondergaard and Bela Lugosi what’s not to like. Called in to investigate some shady shenanigans we have our detective played by Broderick Crawford trying to figure out just who is bumping off all the remaining relatives of patriarch Henrietta Winslow. With a large inheritance at stake it could be any one of our perfectly cast red herrings. Billed as a horror film in its day the film plays more like a fun murder mystery with plenty of pratfalls along the way to keep bumbling Crawford guessing as to who is behind the criminal activity going on. Basil and Bela make for perfect guests in a tale of this nature whereas Alan Ladd was still one year away from staking his claim at the box office.

The Mob  (1951)
Director Robert Parrish has undercover cop Broderick Crawford finding himself down on the docks trying to locate a cop killer and at the same time attempting to bring down the  syndicate responsible for ordering his death. Working alongside the likes of bit players John Marley and Charles Buchinski loading crates, Crawford quickly moves up the ladder taking on local muscle Neville Brand and Ernest Borgnine in order to solve the mystery of who is the kingpin of the operation. Brand and Borgnine play it rough in this fairly violent effort for its’ day and Crawford has that Joe Don Baker appeal working for him as he bulls his way to justice.

Home at Seven  (1952) aka Murder on Monday
Ralph Richardson not only starred in this nifty little black and white mystery but for the only time in his career he directed a motion picture as well. Starring here as a mild mannered banker he finds himself arriving home a day later than usual. He has no idea where the previous 24 hours have disappeared to. But we do know we have a body and missing funds that he had access to from the company safe. Paging Jack Hawkins to step in as a local police detective who along with Richardson’s wife Margaret Leighton attempts to piece together his whereabouts since leaving for work the previous morning.  This is one of those little gems with 3 of Britain’s finest at work. It’s too bad Sir Ralph never tried his hand at directing again.

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