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Private Detective

Private Detective(1939)

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  • A pleasant waste of time

    • Honeyboy Davis
    • 1/14/17

    "Private Detective", from 1939 and also known as "Lady Dick", was a take on the earlier Torchy Blane films. This time, Jane Wyman is insurance company detective Myrna "Jinx" Winslow who smells something fishy in a custody battle when the kid in question has just inherited $300,000 - well over $5,000,000 in today's money - and his greedy, amoral father, aided by a nefarious lawyer, wants him back. Suddenly someone kills the father while the mother is in the house trying to resolve the custody problem. She runs away but is seen by a busybody neighbor and the scene is set for a rather mellow drama. Actually, for this type of film, the story was fairly progressive with Jane solving the mystery and bringing the bad guys to justice until the villain overpowers her, nearly killing her. This leads to a cringe-inducing conclusion where Jane exclaims she doesn't want to be a detective any more as she accepts her policeman boyfriend's marriage proposal. Aaargh! One nice touch: boxer Maxie Rosenbloom plays the cop's assistant but has all the good advice. Except for that ending problem, this movie was fairly pleasant as it mines the Torchy treasure trove.

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