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On a fishing trip, young Paul Cartwright (Jimmy Lydon) has weird dreams that
include an evil man trying to replace his deceased father, the Judge,
his sister getting a bracelet as a present, & a terrible accident - just
like the accident his father died in ...
When he comes home to his mother
(Sally Eilers) & sister Dorothy (Jayne Hazard), he sees part of his
nightmare has come true, as his mother has a new lover, Brett Curtis (Warren
William), who has indeed given his sister a bracelet - coincidence ?
starts some investigations on Curtis' background, with only the family's doctor
Vincent (Regis Toomey) to confide in, everybody else thinks it's just oedipal
jealousy triggered by Paul's father's premature death.
however seems to be solid enough, & by the looks of it, there's nothing to
worry about ... if there wasn't some file about a master criminal Paul had
found in his his father's study, a criminal who has specialized in marrying
& killing rich women & similar schemes. The connection seems to be
weak, but Paul decides to follow up on it ...
& of course he is right,
but Curtis is no fool neither, & he confers with his partner in crime,
psychiatrist Muhlbach (Charles Arnt) on how to get rid of the boy - at least
for a while ... & since Muhlbach runs a sanitarium & Paul seems a
ltitle strained anyway (though he has every reason to be), why not try to make
him a patient.
When Muhlbach suggests this at first, Paul is underwstandably
furious, but after giving it some thought, he figures it might be for the best,
since in the sanitarium he might be able to find out a thing or 2 - as long as
he has doc Vincent as a line to the outside ...
& indeed, in the
sanitarium Paul finds the decisive clue that leads to the truck with which
Paul's father the Judge was run over, & that truck leads diorectly to
Curtis & Muhlbach. But after having found out all of this, Paul rather
foolishly returns to the sanitarium & is promptly locked up by Muhlbach
(but manages to escape anyways), while Curtis has gone to the offensive &
pressures Paul's mother into marrying him, which she finally agrees to do the
following day ... which might be to late, but then Curtis seizes a golden
opportunity to take Paul's innocent sister hostage, & utlimately tries to
rape her (as teenage girls have always been his weakness) when Paul steps in
& saves her before the police, whom doc Vince ahs since informed, arrive at
the scene & shoot Curtis.
Based on an interesting story &
script that despite some leaps of reason & many a twist & turn stays
stringent throughout, this is a nice little noir, in which director Ulmer
once again proves his ability to transcend the budgetary restrictions that PRC
had to impose on him, & make a high-class crime melodram ... which
ultimately proves of course that not money but talent makes a good movie.