WOMAN: You're pretty free with my apartment, aren't you?
COP: Do I have to buy a ticket?
I might not have ever heard of Murder is My Beat if it hadn't been for the beautiful three-sheet poster I bought a couple or three decades ago. Unfortunately, someone -- a nervous theatre-owner, perhaps? -- covered "MURDER" with "DANGER." Still, I could tell it was a movie that was certainly my beat, especially with the Wim Wenders of Poverty Row, Edgar G. Ulmer, directing.
Make no mistake, Murder is My Beat follows the usual film noir recipe by the teaspoon. Plainclothes flatfoot Ray Patrick is on the prowl for Eden Lane, a blonde floozie wanted for murder. First putting his life in jeopardy by tracking her 7,000 feet up a mountain in a blizzard, he finds himself putting his job on the line when he falls for hard for her. Doing a belly-flop off a prison-bound train, Ray and Eden go rogue in order to find the mysterious man whom Eden claims is the real killer.
|The Abominable Detective|
|"No problem, this is the way|
I always look."
|"C'mon, baby, you can spare a little of that|
make-up to cover my hematoma."
|"Careful with those things, lady, or you'll hurt|
somebody with 'em!"
Edgar G. Ulmer does a good job here, concentrating on close-ups to heighten the emotional drama. His occasional cutting from location to studio to process shot in the same scene can be whiplash-inducing, but again, that's more due to budget than talent. One chance where he gets to show what he's capable of -- cutting back and forth from Langton's emotional third-degree of Eden to the relentless drive of the train's steel wheels -- screams of sexual arousal. All aboard!
All things considered, Murder is My Beat might not be the Acela, but it gets where it's supposed to in a timely, efficient manner.
To read about the B-movie mentioned in this piece, Apology for Murder, click here.