When The Clock Strikes (1961)

Bad acting and even worse dialogue in a failed attempt at noir. The ending is beyond awful. The movie is a time passer but nothing to get excited about.

Sam Morgan (James Brown) is driving through a rainstorm and sees a woman on the side of the road. Her car broke down and he gives her a lift to Cady’s Lodge. Sam is on his way to the home of the warden of a nearby state prison.

At the lodge, Ellie’s (Merry Anders) been staying there and waiting for this night. Cady (Henry Corden) has his wall clock at the exact time. At midnight Frankie Pierce is due to hang.

The warden’s not home and Sam goes back to the lodge followed by the Sheriff. Later the warden comes in. He can’t get by a tree that fell in the road. Ellie says she’s Mrs. Frankie Pierce. Everyone is waiting for midnight. Sam was the witness at Frankie’s trial that did him in. He’s not handling it well. He says he only thought the man he saw running from a robbery and the murder of a policeman looked like Frankie. He says the lawyers twisted his words.

Midnight. Frankie takes the drop. Into the lodge comes Pablo. He’s been trying to get the warden. He says he’s the one who killed the cop and Frankie is innocent. He’s carted off to jail. Turns out Pablo is the murderer.

Sam’s conscious bothers him but the Sheriff says Frankie is a rat and would have ended up on the wrong end of the rope before too long. The Sheriff asked Frankie just before his execution where the money was hidden from a two year old bank robbery. He never talked.

Frankie’s clothes arrive from the prison in a suitcase and Ellie takes it. She and Sam search through them. Sam finds a pack of cigarettes with a post office box key. He calls the Jordan, New Mexico post office and is told a package has been in the box for a long time. It’s addressed to Fredrick Freeberger. Sam says that’s who he is and will they forward it to the lodge in care of Sam Morgan. It’s on its way. Sam and Ellie realize it’s the money.

Things look good until the real Mrs. Pierce shows up. Now the movie gets interesting for a while before the terrible ending.

James Brown did a lot of episodes of “Dallas” as Detective Harry McSween. In the credits he was James L. Brown. In “The Adventures Of Rin Tin Rin” he was Lt. Ripley “Rip” Masters (1954-59)…Merry Anders was Policewoman Dorothy Miller in “Dragnet 1967.”  She was Mike McCall in “How To Marry A Millionaire” (1957-59)…Henry Corden did a lot of TV cartoon voice work including Ed and Edna Flintstone. In 1956 he played Carlo in the TV series “The Count Of Monte Cristo.”

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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