Just okay movie based on the character Max Thursday from the paperback original series by Wade Miller (Robert Wade and Bill Miller). It’s better to read the seven books in the series than watch the movie. Then again it is worth seeing the last screen appearance of Mary Boland as Smitty, the owner of a sleazy hotel where Max is the house detective. She did a few episodes of TV series afterwards.
Max (Zachary Scott) used to be a cop. Now he’s a drunk and a house detective in a cheap hotel. When he’s not drinking he’s sleeping it off. He gets a visit from his ex-wife Georgia (Faye Emerson). She got a note from her brother Fred that he’d taken their baby son Jeff out. Neither has been seen since.
Max calls on Fred’s pal Dr.Elder (Jed Prouty). He kept telling Georgia not to involve the cops. Elder thinks Max is from smuggler Otto Varkas. He gives Max a few drinks. The next thing Max knows he’s waking up in a jail cell. Elder’s dead body has been found and Max is suspect number one.
Max goes to a warehouse to see Varkas. He finds out Varkas as well as Elder were afraid of a character named St.Paul. He does meet Varkas’ moll Angel (Kay Medford). He sets up a meet in a bar with her. Max is trying to stay sober, even in a bar. A customer (Jesse White) is hitting on Angel and gets nowhere and leaves. She tells Max Fred is being held by Varkas’ boys.
They leave the bar but are followed by two of Varkas’ men. Before he can talk to Fred, Max is shot in the arm. Georgia takes car of him. In a search of Elder’s office Max found a diamond. So that’s what all this is about. Now where’s Jeff?
Some long unnecessary scenes between Scott and Emerson drag it down. Again, read the books instead.