DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

WIFE WANTED (SHADOW OF BLACKMAIL) (director: Phil Karlson; screenwriters: Caryl Coleman/Sid Sutherland/from the novel Wife Wanted by Robert Callahan; cinematographer: Harry Neumann ; editors: Ace Herman/Richard Currie; music: Edward J. Kay; cast: Kay Francis (Carole Raymond),  Paul Cavanagh (Jeff Caldwell), Veda Ann Borg (Nola Reed), John Gallaudet (Lee Kirby),  Barton Yarborough (Walter Desmond), Robert Shayne (William Tyler), Teala Loring (Mildred Hayes), Tim Ryan (Bartender), Jonathan Hale (Philip Conway); Runtime: 73; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Kay Francis/Jeffrey Bernerd; Monogram; 1946)

"Superficial social conscience exploitative film."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Phil Karlson ("The Phenix City Story"/"Kansas City Confidential"/"Scandal Sheet") directs this superficial social conscience exploitative film. Aging film star Kay Francis, in her last film, plays Carole Raymond, a fading movie star. Carole gives up the movie business to become the real estate partner of Jeff Caldwell (Paul Cavanagh). Through his secretary Nola Reed (Veda Ann Borg), he runs a crooked matrimonial service. Aided by his shady associate Lee Kirby (John Gallaudet), they defraud and blackmail the lonely users. An unaware Carole is used as bait for a mark. As a result, the shamed vic, Walter Desmond (Barton Yarborough), commits suicide.

Reporter William Tyler (Robert Shayne) goes undercover and poses as a rich rancher to do an expose on the phony marriage service. He contacts Carole. She's currently being blackmailed by Caldwell and is forced by him to get Tyler to invest in a fraudulent oil deal. Things work out when Carole and Tyler actually fall in love and team up to bring down this wicked scam.

The film's tagline is: "Here's The Whole Shocking Story Of So-Called "Friendship Clubs" That Sell Marriage, Companionship and Romance, But Deliver Shame and Extortion!"

Writers Caryl Coleman and Sid Sutherland base it on the novel Wife Wanted by Robert Callahan.

REVIEWED ON 1/26/2015       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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