Crime Against Joe (1956)

crime against joe 1956

After a slow start the movie does get better and turns into a decent B about an innocent man accused of murdering a nightclub singer. One curious thing. The singer is not played by Julie London and Julie doesn’t sing at all. How do you make a movie with a singer like Julie and not use her voice?

Joe Manning (John Bromfield) is an unsuccessful artist living with his mother Nora. He’s a Korean War vet and Nora supports him because she believes he has talent.  Joe’s frustrations lead him to drink too much. One night he goes on a bender.

After enough booze to get him drunk he drives over to see Frances “Slacks” Bennett (Julie London) at the drive in coffee shop where she’s a car hop. She tells him he shouldn’t drive and then says she had a fight with her boyfriend Red Waller (Henry Calvin). He’s a cab driver and Joe calls him to come and get him.

The plan is for Slacks to take Joe’s car to his house and then the two will head to a club called Pago Pago. Red drops Joe off at the club. Joe digs singer Irene Crescent but bartender Harry Dorn hustles him outside then leaves him laying on the sidewalk after a right cross. Looking on is George Niles (Rhodes Reason). He offers Joe a ride but Joe decides to walk.

It’s now two am. Joe comes across Christine Rowan (Patricia Blair) standing outside in a coat and nightgown looking like she’s in a trance. He takes her to a nearby house and that’s where she lives with her father Philip. Turns out she’s a sleepwalker.

Later that night Police Detective Sgt.Hollander is called out to where the body of a murdered girl is laying by the side of the road. It’s Irene. He discovers a high school pin next to her.

The next day Hollander takes Joe to the station where he’s asked by D.A. Roy Kasden (Addison Richards) about the pin. Joe says it’s been ten years since graduation and he doesn’t know where the pin has gotten to.

In order to check Joe’s alibi a car hop, Gloria Wayne (Joyce Jameson) is brought in. She was almost attacked the night before.  Philip Rowan says Joe was at his house at 7:30. Harry says Joe threatened Irene but doesn’t mention that the threat wasn’t serious. Everyone lied and Joe is arrested.

Nora goes to Joe’s high school friend Luther who is a lawyer. He says he’s too busy to take the case. Three more lawyers turn her down. Kasden has Joe have a talk with a psychiatrist. He says Joe has repressed hostility. Slacks says she saw Irene get into a car with a man and drive off. Joe is released. Later Slacks admits to Joe that she lied because she thinks he’s innocent.

Joe goes to Philip’s house and he won’t change his story. Christine comes into the room and Joe tells her about when he saw her. Philip is steamed and says he won’t help Joe.

Joe figures out who could have the high school pin. He narrows it down to four people. They are Luther, George, Harry and city council candidate Ralph Corey. He sees Ralph at an impromptu street rally but Ralph thinks talking to Joe will cost him votes. He yells at Joe to go away and the crowd forces him to leave.

Slacks decides to help and goes to George’s ranch with him. While he’s outside she searches for the pin. George isn’t thinking straight because the ranch is being foreclosed. He accuses Slacks of trying to frame him. She runs off and he almost runs her down with his car. Joe drives up and gets her out of there.

The next day he runs into Christine and makes a date with her for that night. Due to circumstances (no spoiler here) she breaks the date and he ends up at the homecoming dance of his high school class. Slacks spots him and the two team up to do some investigating.

The solution is obvious but it doesn’t spoil the movie. It’s still worth checking out.

Julie London as Slacks

Julie London as Slacks

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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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