Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 11/13/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT's POVERTY ROW THEATER COLLECTION offers a triple feature of MONOGRAM studio flicks that are not (as of 11/09) in wide circulation.
Because of title duplication, this movie's name was changed from "Sensation Hunters" when the Monogram archives were sold to TV in 1949. Depending on how you feel about badly executed musical breaks (that is, inept nightclub hoofing) you may want to nuke some popcorn at one point. As for the very sad story: a young factory girl escapes her lousy family situation by falling in love with the town heel. She becomes a chanteuse at the local dive of our title. The beginning of this downer is actually her bleak denouement. This one gets an eight on the "open a vein" scale of misery.
Our other two films are jolly jaunty by comparison.
DETECTIVE KITTY O'DAY
This rather slight Jean Parker comic murder mystery was scripted by Tim Ryan, who plays our story's inspector. Ryan was also married to Irene (of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES) for 20 years. Soon after this picture, Miss Parker reprised her O'Day character for Monogram. Here, Kitty/Jean is secretary to a man murdered (perhaps) while she's visiting his home. Kitty and boyfriend Johnny Jones tail the new widow and her lover to his apartment house, where Kitty and Johnny are pursued both in and out of the building. Kinda dumb and done on the cheap.
PRIVATE SNUFFY SMITH
In the early silent era, little Bud Duncan (Snuffy) played Jeff in a series of Mutt & Jeff shorts. "Private Snuffy" and HILLBILLY BLITZKRIEG (1942) (another Smith comedy) were Bud's last films. Ironically his movie career began and ended with portrayals of comic strip characters. PLOT: Moonshiner Snuffy enlists so he can escape a revenue agent (Kennedy) but finds the "revenooer" is now his sergeant.
Parenthetical numbers preceding titles are 1 to 10 imdb viewer poll ratings.
(5.5) Club Paradise ("Sensation Hunters") (1945) - Robert Lowery/Doris Merrick/Eddie Quillan/Constance Worth/Wanda McKay/Nestor Paiva/Minerva Urecal
(5.2) Detective Kitty O'Day (1944) - Jean Parker/Peter Cookson/Tim Ryan/Veda Ann Borg/Edward Gargan
(5.2) Private Snuffy Smith (1942) - Bud Duncan/Edgar Kennedy/Sarah Padden/Jimmie Dodd
IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT's triple features are ideal for fans of Poverty Row programmers. Although none have undergone major renovation, these vintage hour-length films from IMAGE are often a cut above other PD purveyors in video and sound quality.
Also from IE:
PHANTOMS OF DEATH TRIPLE FEATURE contains "The Phantom of 42nd Street" (1945), "Phantom Killer" (1942) and "Phantom of Chinatown" (1940)."