|NINE LIVES ARE NOT ENOUGH (director: Edward Sutherland; screenwriters: Fred Niblo Jr./from the novel by Jerome Odlum; cinematographer: Ted McCord; editor: Doug Gould; music: William Lava; cast: Ronald Reagan (Matt Sawyer), Joan Perry (Jane Abbott), Faye Emerson (Rose Chadwick), James Gleason (Sgt. Daniels), Howard Da Silva (Murray, City Editor), Edward Brophy (Officer Slattery), Peter Whitney (Roy Slocum), Ben Welden (Moxie Karper), Charles Drake ("Snappy" Lucas), Vera Lewis (Mrs. Slocum), Howard Hickman (Colonel Andrews), Tom Stevenson ( Charles), Thurston Hall ( J. B. Huntley); Runtime: 63; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Bryan Foy; Warner Bros.; 1941)|
B-film crime drama."
by Dennis Schwartz
B-film crime drama, centered around city newspaper
reporters. It's ably helmed by Edward Sutherland
("Dixie"/"The Flying Deuces"/"Diamond Jim"), who
bases it on the novel by Jerome Odlum
and the script by Fred Niblo Jr.
(Thurston Hall ) of the Daily Express
is furious when threatened by gangster Moxie
Karper (Ben Welden) for libel
because brash reporter Matt Sawyer (Ronald Reagan)
wrote a story that has him arrested without any proof,
in which he is subsequently released. Harried city
editor, Murray (Howard Da Silva),
as a demotion, assigns the loudmouth reporter to ride
at night in a patrol car with Sergeant Daniels
(James Gleason) and Officer Slattery
((Edward Brophy). At the boarding house where Mrs.
Slocum (Vera Lewis)
is a landlady and lives with her retarded adult son
Roy (Peter Whitney), the
cops discover the dead body of missing millionaire
Edward Abbott in a room locked from the inside. Sawyer
is convinced it's murder and not suicide because the
vic's hands are in his pockets, even though the gun
used in the shooting is lying next to the corpse's
head. It's soon learned that Moxie lives in a house
next door and he owns the boarding house. When Sawyer
gets the scoop on the big story, his editor boss is
pleased. Sawyer also plots to keep rival reporter "Snappy"
Lucas (Charles Drake) from
crashing his exclusive by any means possible. When
Abbott's daughter Jane (Joan Perry) and
the vic's business partner, Colonel Andrews (Howard
Hickman), arrive to identify the
body, Jane agrees to help Sawyer prove her dad's death
wasn't a suicide.
(Tom Stevenson), Abbott's ex-con
chauffeur, arouses Sawyer's suspicion, but Jane
vouches for him. In any case Sawyer sneaks into
Charles's apartment and finds the telephone number of
Rose Chadwick (Faye Emerson), Abbott's
inquest rules Abbott's death a suicide and Sawyer is
fired, but he investigates it as a murder on his own.
When Sawyer and the friendly prowl car cops find Rose
packed and ready to leave town, they find out that
Charles is her husband and that she never met Abbott.
When Sawyer and Sarge go to question Charles, they
find him dead in his apartment and it looks like
suicide. Returning to Rose's place, they find Slattery
unconscious and that Rose jumped out the window.
third act, the reporter and the cops uncover who the
killer is and the reasons for the crimes.
routine cheapie formulaic whodunit, and a chipper
Reagan, with a flare for scatter-brained comedy,
catches the attention of the studio bosses with a
pleasing performance and they move him up the studio
ladder to more future high budget films.
REVIEWED ON 7/2/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ