Day: April 8, 2023

Tales of the Texas Rangers: Illegal Entry (EP4046)

Today’s Mystery:

The Rangers pursue a robber who stabbed a victim and kidnapped a local woman.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: June 8, 1952

Originated from Hollywood

Stars: Joel McCrea as Ranger Jace Pearson. Herb Ellis, Tony Barrett, Lillian Buyeff, Hal March, Jay Arvan

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Join us again on Monday for another detective drama from the Golden Age of Radio.

DVD Review: A Night to Remember

In the 1942 film A Night to Remember,  mystery writer Jeff Troy (Brian Aherne) and his wife Nancy (Loretta Young) move into their basement apartment one night and the next morning find a body in their garden. Even worse, the Mystery writer got into a fight with the dead man the night before. The couple discovers their apartment is full of secrets and a mystery worthy of one of the writer’s novels, but will they survive it?

The film has a lot going for it, with a solid cast in back of it including Lee Patrick and Sidney Toler in a non-Charlie Chan appearance as the local police inspector. It also has a good premise and a good dose of atmosphere, with some tense moments.

At the same time, A Night to Remember has some weak points including some pacing issues and leads who just don’t make you care that much about their characters as a couple, although Loretta Young is fun on her own. The mystery can also be a bit complex and hard to follow.

However, what may make A Night to Remember so forgettable is that it’s a very subtle satire of the amateur detective genre. It was from an era where comedies were often very broad. Neither Jeff or Nancy are the sort of broad comedic characters you’ll find in screwball comedies or the later satires Murder by Death and The Cheap Detective. The Troys are ordinary everyday people, with Jeff having a slightly above-average understanding of mystery solving. Thus they don’t bungle their way through the case is some uproariously hilarious way but rather in very subtle, everyday, ordinary ways.  One example is when Jeff does as so many amateur sleuths do, and suggests that the police pick up a suspicious character, he finds that the police had already picked him up. Having the police just do their ordinary work in believable ways and show up the mystery writer is one of the movie’s great sources of humor.

One critic said the film is hard to hate and I think that’s a fair description. It’s not a stupid or very offensive film. It’s an hour and a half of diversion that’s different from a lot of its peers but in a way that makes it forgettable. If its sort of low-key, subtle approach is something you’re curious about or if you’re a fan of either Aherne or (especially) Young, it’d be worth watching.

If you seek out the film, be warned: 1) A 1958 film about the sinking of the Titanic has the same name, and 2) The only legal way to purchase the film is a DVD from Collector’s Choice which lacks even the sort of menus that Warner Archive provides with their releases. Instead, the film auto plays all the way through and will continue to do so until you act to stop it.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

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Life with Luigi: Easter Birthday Party (AWR0216)

Amazing World of Radio

Luigi decides to throw a combination Easter/surprise birthday party for Rosa, but Pasquale complicates matters by taking the money for the party to pay Luigi’s back rent.

Original Radio Broadcast: April 8, 1952

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