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Money Madness1948

  • 3.2
Rolling off the bus into a new town, Steve (Hugh Beaumont) gets work as a cabbie but has bigger things in mind. He meets waitress Julie (Frances Rafferty) and she jumps at his marriage proposal; anything to get away from the insufferable hypochondriac aunt (Cecil Weston) she's living with. Once they're hitched, however, Julie realizes Steve isn't quite the man she thought he was. In fact, he's a coldblooded sociopath not at all averse to armed robbery or even murder. This overlooked noir puts its heroine in an increasingly tight spot as her husband gets scarier and crazier. Playing a real scuzzball here, Beaumont would find fame a decade later in a polar-opposite role: as the ultra-wholesome father of rambunctious "Beaver" Cleaver on television's LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. His co-star Rafferty also hit the sitcom jackpot on the equally long-running if lesser-remembered DECEMBER BRIDE series. Director Sam Newfield was brother to PRC's chief. He cranked out so many of that "Poverty Row" studio's films that he was often billed under pseudonyms to make their talent roster look more expansive. In just over thirty years' course, he made so many features and shorts that he is considered one of the most prolific directors ever. In 1938 alone, he completed sixteen full-length films (including the notorious "all-midget western" THE TERROR OF TINY TOWN). - Dennis Harvey

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1 member likes this review

Clumsy but truly creepy little noirodrama. Pay no attention to the title. Starts out without much promise, but within ten or fifteen minutes the film takes a turn and plunges over a cliff. The lousy print and stilted dialog just add to the claustrophobic, submarine atmosphere. The camerawork and lighting are actually quite good; combined with the way the film packs every possible theme (impersonation, bigamy, murder, domestic abuse, organized crime, and more) into about seventy minutes, a nightmarish mood surfaces. The plot twists as fast as your eyeballs can move, and the air runs out quick. "This Is Your Life." Then it's over. Extra-terrifying to think the guy playing the psychopath emerged from the murky grave to play Ward Cleaver about a decade later.

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8dae6774defd1d0f91cc7dd2835ce800?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0083
top reviewer

Clumsy but truly creepy little noirodrama. Pay no attention to the title. Starts out without much promise, but within ten or fifteen minutes the film takes a turn and plunges over a cliff. The lousy print and stilted dialog just add to the claustrophobic, submarine atmosphere. The camerawork and lighting are actually quite good; combined with the way the film packs every possible theme (impersonation, bigamy, murder, domestic abuse, organized crime, and more) into about seventy minutes, a nightmarish mood surfaces. The plot twists as fast as your eyeballs can move, and the air runs out quick. "This Is Your Life." Then it's over. Extra-terrifying to think the guy playing the psychopath emerged from the murky grave to play Ward Cleaver about a decade later.

1 member likes this review
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A really lame noir film starring Leave it to Beaver's father figure High Beaumont as the bad guy, but the film tells you just about all you need to know in 72 minutes about repugnant male dominance roles and shrinking female subservience roles of post-war 1948 Amerika. Except for Aunt Cora who reminds me of [eye roll] real, carping, bitter older female relatives of that era, yikes. Bad print or did they not have decent lighting for black and white films in those days? Worth seeing if only for seeing why Amerika is so creepy these days -- it has apparently always been creepy ...

Don't mess with Mr. Ward Cleaver. He is "different" and "keeps what is his." Hugh Beaumont is sort of a Jekyl and Hyde character in this Noir. At times he is charming and very likable. The next minute he's slapping people around or killing them if they get in the way of what he wants. Acting by the two leads was not bad. The plot is interesting. But beware - the penalty for excessively loud music is severe.

The movie was a bit better than I had assumed. Unfortunately, bad lighting, poor music soundtrack, and poor dialogue hold this movie back. I was surprised to see that the best actor was Hugh Beaumont. He actually made this movie worth watching, not because I got a kick out the future "Ward Cleaver" play a psychopathic killer and bank robber (although I did get a kick from it), but because Beaumont actually has good acting chops--underplaying his role in a very over the top, cheesy movie. It made me wish he had a better shot at playing better roles in better movies, but he either was a bit player in better movies, like George Copeland in "The Blue Dahlia" (1945) or had bigger roles in bad movies like Dr. Jud Bellamin in "The Mole People" (1956).

His best role might have been as Ward Cleaver, but that pretty much killed his career.

As far as the other actors go, a few familiar faces of character actors like Ida Moore and Dick Elliott but this is clearly a B-Movie with a low-rent budget and cast. Too bad not everyone could transcend the limitations of this film.

Another review credits the photography as being good. The print quality is so bad I can't see it. And what is a noir without great photography and music? Well, it's this. The plot, such as it isn't, leans on the false assumption that a wife can't testify against her husband. She can if she wants to, she just can't be compelled to. The leads make this movie. Frances Rafferty and Hugh Beaumont are both incredibly appealing players, and both lost out on film stardom but became television stars in the fifties. Beaumont has a tremendous ability to deliver lines with both authority and conversational ease. This helped him considerably as Ward Cleaver. In this film, those qualities serve as cover for a lying, thieving, murdering sociopath. It's a wonderful performance and the main reason to see this film.

It is a curious film noir full of potential that left me quite frustrated in the end. Unfortunately it never quite makes it to its "self-realization" stage. I loved it up until the very end. Thought it could use another 10 minutes at least. It is still worth watching though, even if just for the masterful acting and the dialog, as well as for the unusual psychological twists of personalities.

Weak plotted Noir. Female lead was awful and male lead was worse. Didn't like at all.