Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hold That Trayne

Welcome back to Cheepnis Theater - Tonight a double-bill directed by One-Shot Beaudine. First, The Living Ghost (1942) "starring" James Dunn as Nick Trayne, eccentric detective. Wise-cracking Trayne seems kind of familiar - could he be "inspired" by Mike Shayne, private detective? Fits the bill for me. Dunn is no Lloyd Nolan - more of a B-level juvenile lead - but he handles the patter pretty well.

The plot is the usual nonsense, with corpses falling out of every closet, a creepy butler, and a pretty girl, Joan Woodbury, for Trayne to fall for. Actually, a little more nonsensical than usual, since it involves a banker turned into a zombie. The jokes are fun and breezy, and it romps right along for 61 minutes.

You know, we kid William Beaudine. Sure, he got slotted into the role of cheapie B-movie director, but he had a deft touch when given anything at all to work with. This was much better than it had to be.

In Fashion Model (1945), he had a bit less to work with. The premise is promising enough: A fashion model and her stockboy boyfriend are suspected of murdering another model. They go on the lam in an variety of outrageous disguises - particularly the southern planter gentleman and his hoop-skirted belle. But the slapstick is a bit desperate, and I didn't think it really went over, any better than the disguises, which didn't fool the doorman for a second. Well, at least it had Tim Ryan (Granny Irene Ryan's husband) as the flummoxed police chief.

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