Two O'Clock Courage


1h 8m 1945
Two O'Clock Courage

Brief Synopsis

An amnesiac discovers he's wanted for murder.

Film Details

Genre
Crime
Mystery
Release Date
Jan 1945
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 13 Apr 1945
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Two O'Clock Courage by Gelett Burgess (Indianapolis, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,961ft

Synopsis

At the corner of Ocean View and Arch Street, a disoriented man stumbles out of the fog and into the street, where he is almost run over by cab driver Patty Mitchell. The man is suffering from amnesia and the only clues to his identity are a hatband imbossed with the initials "RD" or "DR," two ticket stubs from the Imperial Theater and a matchbook from the Blue Room at the Regency Hotel. Patty drives the man to a police station for help, but when they see a newspaper story reporting the murder of producer Robert Dilling on Ocean View by a man wearing a pin-striped suit and fitting the man's description, Patty decides to help her amnesiac passenger and drives him to a tailor, where he buys a new suit to hide his identity. At the tailor, they hear a radio bulletin announcing that Dilling's chauffeur, Dave Rennick, is suspected of the murder. Patty urges her passenger to leave town, but he insists upon going to Rennick's apartment to investigate. As they search the deserted apartment, Inspector Bill Brenner and reporter Haley arrive and begin questioning them. Patty states that they are newlyweds named Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Smith, and were innocently enjoying their honeymoon until "Clarence," a reporter, read of Dilling's death and saw a potential story. Believing that "Clarence" could be Rennick, Brenner invites him to the Dilling house, where Dilling's butler Judson denies that "Clarence" is the chauffeur. A search of Dilling's study reveals that the producer has been cheating authors of their play royalties. The man also discovers a manuscript entitled Two O'Clock Courage by Lawrence Tenny. When headquarters calls with the news that the tailor identified the murder suspect as one of his customers who was dressed in a pin-striped suit, Brenner arrests Judson, who is attired in a suit of that pattern. From the Dilling house, Patty and her passenger decide to visit the Blue Room at the Regency Hotel for more leads. At the club, the man is warmly embraced by Helen Carter, who calls him "Step" and tells him that she was afraid he might be involved in the Dilling case because he had argued with the producer in the theater lobby on the night of the murder. The man is also greeted by Mark Evans, the author of the play that Dilling was producing. Their meeting is interrupted when Evans becomes embroiled in a fight with actor Steve Maitland. After Helen leaves, the man visits Evans, who explains that Maitland attacked him because he tried to prevent the actor from appearing in his play. The man cleverly learns from Evans that his real name is Ted Allison, that they both attended college with Lawrence Tenny and that Tenny committed suicide. After Ted leaves Evans' apartment, he and Patty discover that a Ted Allison is registered at the Regency Hotel, so Ted returns to his room. Meanwhile, Brenner has arrested Rennick, who informs the inspector that he heard Maitland threaten Dilling. Brenner, accompanied by Rennick and Haley, visits Maitland, who admits to threatening the producer because he was annoying actress Barbara Borden, with whom he is in love. When Barbara tells Brenner that Dilling was upset about a conversation he had with Ted Allison, a guest at the Regency Hotel, Haley rushes to Ted's hotel room, where Ted has just found a note from Tenny's mother authorizing him to represent her son's play. Haley tries to restrain Ted, but he escapes and returns to the Billing house to retrieve the copy of Two O'Clock Courage . Just as Ted finds the play, a shot rings out, grazing his head and knocking him unconscious. In a semi-conscious state, Ted remembers accusing Dilling of stealing Tenny's play. Immediately after, Dilling was killed and Ted was struck on the head by his murderer. When Ted regains consciousness, he is arrested and taken to headquarters where he informs Brenner that Evans stole Tenny's play and that Dilling was blackmailing him because of it. Brenner then takes Ted to Evans' apartment, where Ted accuses the playwright of shooting Dilling when the producer interrupted his search for the last copy of the play. Evans confesses to the crime and goes into the next room to fetch his coat. Just then, a gunshot rings out and the police find Evans' dead body. While they fan out into the corridor, another gunshot draws their fire. Once the firing stops, they burst into the room and find the mortally wounded Barbara Borden, who admits to killing Dilling because he was blackmailing her over some old love letters and to killing Evans because he knew the truth. With the murders solved and his name restored, Ted marries Patty.

Film Details

Genre
Crime
Mystery
Release Date
Jan 1945
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 13 Apr 1945
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Two O'Clock Courage by Gelett Burgess (Indianapolis, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,961ft

Articles

Two O'Clock Courage - Two O'Clock Courage


Director Anthony Mann's first film for RKO, Two O'Clock Courage (1945), is a lesser footnote in this great American director's career, but well worth a look. He made this film and the musical Sing Your Way Home (1945) briefly at RKO before returning to more familiar ground at Republic Studios. The director would soon go on to make Strange Impersonation (1946), a low budget gem at Republic.

Mann was handed the script of Two O'Clock Courage from RKO's writers after leaving MGM, and the screenplay was an undistinguished hybrid: half marital comedy and half Film Noir; it lacked the zip of other B efforts spilling out from the studio at the time. Critics such as Bosley Crowther of The New York Times were quite dismissive, calling it "second rate cinematic fun."

The story is certainly a mixed bag. The film begins with a man stumbling through a foggy dockside with his head split-open, and ends with a priggish boarding house superintendent turned away at the door by a marriage certificate and a 'Do Not Disturb' sign unknowingly placed on her receding backside.

Tom Conway spends a great deal of time looking convincingly like "The Falcon," and Ann Rutherford, mostly MIA in the film's second half, is stuck with dialogue running from poor wisecracks to jealous fits, but she's able to still find a vein of charm. Jean Brooks nearly steals the movie with only a few scenes, exuding psychotic guilt. Conway, whose real name is Robert Conroy Sanders, bares such a frightening resemblance to his brother that surely some 1945 audience members must have blurted "Oh look, it's the guy from The Picture of Dorian Gray!" Jane Greer (here billed as Bettejane Greer) flashes on the screen like a comet - a radiant, convincing "other woman" that looms over all her scenes; she leaves a wake of sharp glass in every scene.

Of Mann the stylist, there are glimpses of greatness. Two O'Clock Courage was a journeyman's exercise, where he was clearly restrained from unleashing or developing any of the genuinely expressive powers quickly emerging with the director and which would fine fruition in films such as T-Men (1948), Raw Deal (1948), Desperate (1947), and The Tall Target (1951). The film contains tantalizing moments such as its disorienting opening tracking shot (Mann had opened with a similar sequence in his previous film, The Great Flamarion in 1945) and some better-than-average cross cutting in a key flashback sequence - but it's evident the director was just beginning to think about how gritty story elements might be expressively told.

Mann never dealt with scripted comedy; he simply didn't "get it" (see his atrocious Sing Your Way Home (1945)), and the comedy in Two O'Clock Courage crackles with the energy of a rubber tire. But it's fun watching this film nonetheless, and if you can get past some of the lame dialogue, there are pockets of real enjoyment here as you watch a director play with scenes, clearly flirting with the movie camera and trying to discover what possibilities it may hold.

Producer: Benjamin Stoloff
Director: Anthony Mann
Screenplay: Gelett Burgess (story), Robert Kent, Gordon Kahn
Cinematography: Jack MacKenzie
Film Editing: Philip Martin
Art Direction: Lucius O. Croxton, Albert S. D'Agostino
Music: Roy Webb
Cast: Tom Conway (The Man), Anne Rutherford (Patty Mitchell), Richard Lane (Haley), Lester Matthews (Mark Evans), Roland Drew (Steve Maitland), Emory Parnell (Inspector Bill Brenner).
BW-66m.

by Richard Steiner
Two O'clock Courage  - Two O'clock Courage

Two O'Clock Courage - Two O'Clock Courage

Director Anthony Mann's first film for RKO, Two O'Clock Courage (1945), is a lesser footnote in this great American director's career, but well worth a look. He made this film and the musical Sing Your Way Home (1945) briefly at RKO before returning to more familiar ground at Republic Studios. The director would soon go on to make Strange Impersonation (1946), a low budget gem at Republic. Mann was handed the script of Two O'Clock Courage from RKO's writers after leaving MGM, and the screenplay was an undistinguished hybrid: half marital comedy and half Film Noir; it lacked the zip of other B efforts spilling out from the studio at the time. Critics such as Bosley Crowther of The New York Times were quite dismissive, calling it "second rate cinematic fun." The story is certainly a mixed bag. The film begins with a man stumbling through a foggy dockside with his head split-open, and ends with a priggish boarding house superintendent turned away at the door by a marriage certificate and a 'Do Not Disturb' sign unknowingly placed on her receding backside. Tom Conway spends a great deal of time looking convincingly like "The Falcon," and Ann Rutherford, mostly MIA in the film's second half, is stuck with dialogue running from poor wisecracks to jealous fits, but she's able to still find a vein of charm. Jean Brooks nearly steals the movie with only a few scenes, exuding psychotic guilt. Conway, whose real name is Robert Conroy Sanders, bares such a frightening resemblance to his brother that surely some 1945 audience members must have blurted "Oh look, it's the guy from The Picture of Dorian Gray!" Jane Greer (here billed as Bettejane Greer) flashes on the screen like a comet - a radiant, convincing "other woman" that looms over all her scenes; she leaves a wake of sharp glass in every scene. Of Mann the stylist, there are glimpses of greatness. Two O'Clock Courage was a journeyman's exercise, where he was clearly restrained from unleashing or developing any of the genuinely expressive powers quickly emerging with the director and which would fine fruition in films such as T-Men (1948), Raw Deal (1948), Desperate (1947), and The Tall Target (1951). The film contains tantalizing moments such as its disorienting opening tracking shot (Mann had opened with a similar sequence in his previous film, The Great Flamarion in 1945) and some better-than-average cross cutting in a key flashback sequence - but it's evident the director was just beginning to think about how gritty story elements might be expressively told. Mann never dealt with scripted comedy; he simply didn't "get it" (see his atrocious Sing Your Way Home (1945)), and the comedy in Two O'Clock Courage crackles with the energy of a rubber tire. But it's fun watching this film nonetheless, and if you can get past some of the lame dialogue, there are pockets of real enjoyment here as you watch a director play with scenes, clearly flirting with the movie camera and trying to discover what possibilities it may hold. Producer: Benjamin Stoloff Director: Anthony Mann Screenplay: Gelett Burgess (story), Robert Kent, Gordon Kahn Cinematography: Jack MacKenzie Film Editing: Philip Martin Art Direction: Lucius O. Croxton, Albert S. D'Agostino Music: Roy Webb Cast: Tom Conway (The Man), Anne Rutherford (Patty Mitchell), Richard Lane (Haley), Lester Matthews (Mark Evans), Roland Drew (Steve Maitland), Emory Parnell (Inspector Bill Brenner). BW-66m. by Richard Steiner

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

A Hollywood Reporter production chart places June Duprez and Gavin Muir in the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. This picture marked the screen debut of Jane Greer(1924-2001), who was billed onscreen under her real name, Bettejane Greer. Two O'Clock Courage was also Anthony Mann's first directoral assignment at RKO. The Gelett Burgess novel also served as the basis for the 1936 RKO film Two in the Dark, starring Walter Abel and Margot Grahame and directed by Ben Stoloff (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4824).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring April 1945

Released in United States Spring April 1945