Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective on film: BLACKMAIL

Dan Turner's first trip to the big screen came in this 1947 flick, Blackmail. I've never seen it, but it sounds mighty interesting.

To begin with, it's a Republic Picture. Most of their films were mere "B"s, of course, but I've yet to see a total turkey.

Dan is played by William Marshall, a cipher to me. The only film I know I've seen him in is Santa Fe Trail, in which he played George Pickett (and if I recall correctly, got about 10 seconds of screen time).

What makes this intriguing is the supporting cast. Adele Mara (as Sylvia Duane) appeared in dozens of movies and many of the western and mystery TV series I watched as a kid. Ricardo Cortez (see photo in yesterday's post) starred in the first film version of The Maltese Falcon. Grant Withers (Detective Dave Donaldson) was another familiar TV face. Roy Barcroft was one of the busiest western actors of all time. And George J. Lewis, along with being a staple in Republic serials, played the Disney Zorro's dad.

According to the Thrilling Detective site, the original story appeared in Speed Detective for July 1944, an issue I do not appear to possess. I'm curious how much of the wacky narration/dialogue made it into the screenplay.



Rittster said...


"Stock Shot" was reprinted in Adventure House's ROSCOES IN THE NIGHT.

Evan Lewis said...

Cool! I knew that name - Sylvia Duane - was familiar.

Chris said...

I agree with you on the "B" status of Republic Pictures—I've enjoyed all the ones I've seen as well. Two that come to mind are Orson Welles' Macbeth and Sands of Iwo Jima. Did you like those ones?

R/T said...

Evan, I never quite know what surprises are to be found at your site. For example, I never imagined I would ever read the words "Macbeth" and "Sands of Iwo Jima" in the same sentence. That either says something about Republic Pictures or your commentators or both.

Evan Lewis said...

I loved all the John Wayne war flicks when I was a kid (before those deluded hippie years when I considered him a war-monger). It would be great to see Iwo Jima again. I see Adele Mara was in that one too.

Never seen Macbeth. I like Shakespeare on stage, and slightly less in print, but not so much on film. Was the Republic version just a film of the play, or did they jazz it up Republic-style?

Evan Lewis said...

I'm sure you're right, R.T., but what it says beats me.