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Shoot to Kill
Shoot to Kill
Actor: Nestor Paiva
Director: William A. Burke
Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2004     1hr 30min


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Movie Details

Actor: Nestor Paiva
Director: William A. Burke
Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 07/27/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Matt B. from GETZVILLE, NY
Reviewed on 8/15/2011...
A Newspaperman... A Grafting Politician... And A Beautiful Girl... In A Story Of Underworld Revenge!

After watching big-budget noir in Impact and The Secrets of Martha Ivers, I was happy to keep it real again with a quickie, Shoot to Kill. The movie begins with the cops chasing a car the size of my kitchen, which goes off a cliff killing the new DA and injuring his wife. Embarrassing is that the other fatality is an escaped convict with the cool name of Dixie Logan. In the hospital an intrepid news hound gets the inside dope from the widow who tells an elaborate tale in flashbacks.

The strong points of this routine crime melodrama outweigh its weak ones. At an hour and change long, its pace is fast. The soundtrack adds to the rapid pace with music ranging from boogie-woogie piano by Gene Rodgers to “Music to be Frantic By” as characters threaten and double-cross each other. Like a Ross Macdonald novel, the plots twists keep our interest, though there may be a couple turns too many by the end, making the plot “as crooked as a mountain road.” Because of the photography of shadows and empty stress the feeling can get convincingly menacing, though a fight scene is kind of dumb.

In the female lead is Susan a.k.a. Luana Walters, persuasive in her role as determined woman who knows what she wants because she’s clearly in her mid-thirties and been around. The reporter is played by Russell Wade. He’s dogged but soft-spoken, which is a change from the glib journalists we usually get in movies. As the DA, Edmund MacDonald resembles Thomas E. Dewey, a famous Republican of bygone days, with a silly moustache that prompted Herbert Hoover to say, ”A man couldn't wear a mustache like that without having it affect his mind.”

Recommended for those in the mood for low-budget noir. Viewers with standards should give this one a pass.

Movie Reviews

A fun little "lost gem" of B movie Film Noir
K. Bunker | Boston, MA USA | 01/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This movie was a low budget B film when it was made in 1947, and now it's being distributed on DVD by the low budget Alpha Video. Therefor, it's not too surprising that the video and sound quality are abysmal. They probably weren't that great in 1947, and the print used for this DVD shows its age in spades, and Alpha Video doesn't have the budget to do any restoration work on their releases.

That said, I (contrary to another reviewer) found the movie watchable, and pretty darned interesting and entertaining to boot. A crooked assistant District Attorney frames one crime boss and is in cahoots with several others. He's assisted by his secretary/wife, who is one of the more fascinating female characters I've seen in Film Noir. Perky but iron-hard, pretty but razor-sharp, she's got more on the ball than any of the killers, bosses, politicians and reporters whose violent world she navigates. A Machiavellian tale is told, with fast and furious killings and more plot twists than you'd think could ever be squeezed into 64 minutes.

There's also a great boogie woogie piano piece played by Gene Rodgers as a musical interlude (albeit a little awkwardly inserted). All in all, a fine piece of entertainment and a terrific little "lost gem" of B movie Film Noir!"
The worse DVD transfer I've ever seen...
Steve-O | Milford, CT USA | 09/12/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)

"... I'm a big noir buff, but come on! This film is unwatchable."
Typical low-budget acting and dialogue, but clever plot cons
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 02/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"When the police reach the site of the car crash, a car they've been chasing through the night and exchanging gunfire with, they find Lawrence Dale, the man who will become District Attorney in the morning, his wife Marian, and the notorious gangster Dixie Logan. Dale and Logan are dead. Marian is rushed to a hospital seriously injured. What's going on?

All will become clear in 64 minutes if you watch this tidy, well-constructed, low-budget programmer from 1947. The acting isn't much and neither is the dialogue, but the story is well constructed, there are lots of intriguing flashbacks and the direction is taut, unhurried and doesn't waste a minute. For a quickie with a five-day shooting schedule, Shoot to Kill is a fine example of why some people, me included, love these Forties, bottom-of-the-bill movies.

The story is all about Lawrence Dale (Edmund MacDonald), a corrupt and ambitious assistant district attorney; Marian Langton (Luanna Walters, billed as Susan Walters), who shows up one morning looking for a job as Dale's secretary; and Mitch Mitchell (Russell Wade), a smart, crime-fighting reporter for The Evening Register. With the ailing DA about to step down, we quickly learn that his replacement, Dale, is in cahoots with some big-boy gangsters, and that the lot of them plan to run the town. But Dale makes a mistake. To put away Dixie Logan on a murder charge, a step that will enhance his reputation as a crime-fighter, Dale manufactures false evidence and bribes two witnesses. It's not long before Logan has busted out of jail with payback in mind. Then Dale starts getting romantic with his new secretary, a woman with a mind of her own. And to top it off, as Dale and his gangster partners plot murder, ace reporter Mitchell gets on their trail.

All this could be as stale as a week-old banana-nut muffin. Shoot to Kill, however, keeps things fresh by using flashbacks, even flashbacks within flashbacks, to make all the plotting and machinations intriguing. There's even a twist at the end that's not telegraphed and yet is believable.

Shoot to Kill is B-level movie-making in all its cheap glory. There's not an actor in sight who ever escaped the low-budget movie mill. Even some of their stories have a kind of B-movie quality. Russell Wade, for instance, was never much of an actor in all the movies he made, most of them in unbilled parts and then as a lead. Still, he had a friendly, likable personality. When he was 31, a year after this movie, Wade packed it in as an actor and became a highly successful real estate man in Palm Springs. Luanna Walters, on the other hand, after years of trying and not succeeding to break out of B-movie purgatory (she played the female interest in a lot of westerns), died of alcoholism when she was 51. Where's Nicole Kidman when we need her, to star in The Luanna Walters Story? Sadly, the movie, Wade and Walters have been long forgotten.

Shoot to Kill is in the public domain. The DVD transfer is just barely adequate. The movie is fun, but not worth the inflated prices some public domain specialists slap on their releases. Be especially wary of those who say their product has been "digitally remastered" or any such meaningless marketing phrases."