"It doesn't add up, Don. The fingerprints match but the desc
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 01/18/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
FBI Girl (1951):
Says the narrator..."Washington D.C., once just the capital of the United States, today a symbol of strength and a bulwark of hope for the entire world. And, as Washington has grown in international significance, so has the Department of Justice. Its nerve center is the Federal Bureau of Investigation..."
J. Edgar Hoover must really have had the goods on...in addition to Washington politicians and civil rights leaders...Hollywood producers. How else to explain the continuing stream of movies that sanctify the FBI in cloyingly reverential terms. In this achingly second-rate B-movie we have a governor aiming for the Senate who happens to be a murderer. The power behind this white-haired old weakling is a corrupt and ruthless man called Blake...yes, Raymond Burr. Blake plans to use one of those FBI girls in the Bureau's records division to steal the governor's fingerprint card so no one will ever learn of the Governor's indiscretion. The records appear to be stolen, the FBI girl is disposed of, but FBI agents Glen Stedman (Cesar Romero) and Jeff Donley (George Brent) are assigned to find out how and why the card was stolen. In the next 74 minutes Romero will explain the case, Brent will look like he wished he were somewhere else and the music will soar to stentorian heights every time the FBI is mentioned.
FBI Girl is one of those sad movies where, if they're unlucky, men and women who once were stars but, unable to hold on to the gold ring, now found themselves in. Cesar Romero, big in the Forties and memorable as Cortez in Captain from Castile, ended up in things like Prisoners of the Casbah and Happy Go Lovely. Brent, unthreatening leading man to the big female stars in the Thirties and still interesting in The Spiral Staircase, saw himself in Tangier Incident and Mexican Manhunt. Even the second leads, Audrey Totter as a brave FBI clerk and Tom Drake as her lobbyist boyfriend, were in the down slope of their careers. The only actor worth paying attention to is Raymond Burr. It's a wonder he survived these dogs.
By the way, the FBI got their man, but only after they had to activate Operation Two. FBI Girl is not in the public domain but looks it.
Tough Assignment (1949):
If the Oscars or the Emmys had a category for "Best Use of Fiction in a Marketing Campaign," I'd put my bet on VCI to win. With Tough Assignment, one of the low-budget crime capers VCI markets as a Forgotten Noir, they may even have invented a new category: The cattle rustling noir. Tough Assignment comes complete with Don "Red" Barry, a lot of mooing beef, plus grateful on-screen thanks to California's Bureau of Livestock Identification.
Ace reporter Don Reilly (Don Barry) and his bride of a month, ace photographer Margie Reilly (Marjorie Steele) get involved in a modern-day cattle rustling ring when they visit their local butcher and find him on the floor, beaten. When they drive home so Margie can develop the film she shot that might show the mugs leaving the store, they get beaten up, too. The mugs showed up, threw some punches and took the film. Before long Don and Margie have an assignment from their editor...find out what's going on and break the case wide open. That will bring them up against, literally, a lot of rustled cattle, a lot of bootleg steaks, a lot of Boss Morgan (Steve Brody) and more than a lot of Morgan's gang out at the ranch where the rustled cattle are kept.
This low-budget programmer doesn't go anywhere as far as plot or tension is concerned; it's all predictable with some tired, cornpone humor thrown in. Barry was a short, feisty actor who made his name playing Red Ryder. Few who worked with him liked him. As some compensation there's Marc Lawrence, always a watchable tough guy, and, all too briefly, Iris Adrian as a motor-mouth moll.
Tough Assignment is in fairly good condition."