Monday, July 21, 2014

Dial Red 0 (1955)

First of five films starring western star Bill Elliot as a Los Angeles Sheriff's detective lieutenant dealing with homicides across Los Angeles.

Things are set in motion when a vet escapes from a psychiatric hospital and heads to see his wife. When he gets there she's not home.He leaves to try and find her. It transpires that the wife has gone out to meet her boyfriend, a one time friend of her husband's. She wants to celebrate because she's served her husband with divorce papers. The boyfriend is not happy since he's happy  with the relationship as it is since it allows him a girlfriend and his wife and son. When she pushes the boyfriend snaps and kills his paramour. Thinking fast he makes it look like her husband did it.

Low key police procedural cum film noir has Elliot's Andy Flynn (His name would become Andy Doyle in the remaining films) largely outside of much of the action. Yes he wanders in and makes arrests and does some detective work, but the film seems more focused on the romantic triangle at it's heart, the killer and the cuckolded husband. I was expecting a film more focused on the detective and while the film is quite good it's rather surprising that the film was thought good enough to make a series.

Currently out on DVD from the Warner Archive and worth a look as part of their Bill Elliott Detective Mysteries set.

Of interest to some is the fact that Sam Peckinpah was the dialog coach for the film and has a bit part playing the cook in the diner.

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