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The Mystery Man (1935)
Stark Drama! A Shadow Creeping Through the Night!
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Hard-boiled newspaper reporter Larry Doyle (Robert Armstrong) goes a bit too far in celebrating a work bonus and wakes up on a train bound for St. Louis with only a buck on his person. To remedy the problem, Doyle pawns the revolver he's carrying. When the gun is subsequently used in a murder, Doyle's problems only multiply. In the meantime, he's also fallen in love with a comely stranger (Maxine Doyle) he convinced to impersonate his wife.

The Mystery Man (1935)

Prehistoric Fishing

Cinematic archeology is what this is all about. The film has lost all its appeal as the hooks have gone out of style. But we can see major chunks that have evolved to what we have now.

The basic setup is the fold of a reporter as a detective, a miraculously simple concept in narration, as his job is to ‘get the story.‘

He has an easy hookup with a perky girl, though cleanly post-code.

Our reporter is an adventure-loving party man (which then meant an occasional drunk) who cannot keep money and who hates authority.

The environment is one in which police are inept and essentially invisible, and ‘the paper‘ runs the town behind the scenes. You can easily see the seeds of noir here.

Oh, and we have a stereotyped villain, a mystery man who calls himself The Eel and who calls to taunt police (represented by the DA).

Good digging here, if you have the patience.

Posted in 2011

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.

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