When the skeletal remains of a pregnant prostitute turn up on a Massachusetts beach the Barnstable cop Peter Morales (Montalban) teams up with Boston police and uses forensics with the help of Dr. McAdoo, a Harvard doctor (Bennett), to figure out who the woman is. The cop then tries to figure out how she died and, later, who killed her.
A serviceable film that for some reason is considered a noir, but to me, was more of a crime procedural. I guess its because of the first half hour and John Alton's dark lighting, which for the first thirty minutes, makes this a pretty good film. But then morning arrives and the story kind of sputters, and Ricardo Montelban doesn't have the screen presence of a Robert Mitchum, Dana Andrews or Richard Widmark, and the whole effort is really kind of wasted. It's not a bad movie, but a few times, I found myself looking at the clock, wondering how much more before the climax and ending.
Crap title for a very enjoyable movie. Always good to look at this speeds along with lots of interesting asides, like the skeleton that leads to an early exploration of forensics and some great location shooting. Jan Sterling, appearing here a year before Ace in the Hole is a fabulous femme fatale who helps set the whole thing up. So much action it is somewhat surprising that there is a slight lack of a thrill, but then there is always going to be an element of this when we know something the main protagonists don’t. Nevertheless a super film and well worth seeing with so many good performances, notably Ricardo Montalaban as the police officer in charge and a lovely turn by Elsa Lanchester, a bit laid back in her early scenes as the boozing landlady but when she starts to get into the action - wow!
Boring crime film that is surely one of the earliest examples of forensic detective work on film, as Harvard scientists reconstruct a murder from an old skeleton. But there’s not much mystery to the film, which plays out mostly as a thriller except for the “surprise” ending.