Parole, Inc.

Director: Alfred Zeisler

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Jojo Dumont (Evelyn Ankers) is a club owner who heads up a punchboard racket in Parole, Inc. (1948). Jojo's a tremendous flirt but deep down she's a hard as nails femme fatale. Her attorney boyfriend Barney Rodescu (Turhan Bey, a beautiful fellow whose Turkic exoticism left him typecast mostly as bad guys) has an inside track to the parole board.

Parole, Inc.Together they've been buying releases for gangsters who come to work for Jojo. This is how they got Harry Palmer (Charles Bradstreet) the "collector" out of prison & on Jojo's payroll.

G-man Richard Hendricks (Michael O'Shea) is brought in on the difficult case & goes undercover as gangster Maddock aka Carson, befriending Harry Palmer's wife Glenda (Virginia Lee) just before Harry gets out of prison. She's been faithfully awaiting for her husband to serve his time, & gleeful when he gets out early.

When gossipy gangsters try to tell Harry that Carson has been putting the moves on his wife, she's quick to inform her husband that Carson has been a friend never failing to be a gentleman.

Glenda's a decent person despite her taste in men, though Harry's not the worst guy imaginable, as gangsters go. He trusts his wife's judgement & quickly befriends Carson/Maddock/Hendricks. By stages Hendricks has wormed his way into Jojo's rackets, until the lady boss herself takes an interest in him.

Harry Palmer gets murdered along the way, & Glenda's life is at risk when it becomes known that her husband had been talking out of school about how the parole scheme works.

Michael O'Shea as the G-man isn't your usual film noir hero, as he's neither a tough guy like Bogart nor a handsome leading man. He has the sort of sweet-natured face you'd expect to be cast as a boy wonder, college guy, or best friend of the hero. Yet he does star in a handful of crime films & his against-type appearance works for originality.

The story is told in flashbacks from a hospital bed, so we know things don't go completely well for Hendricks. The climax at Rodescu's farm, where the bad apples on the parole board turn up, gets very talky & busy rather than getting straight to it, with only a little bit of action. Yet it's well played & largely effective, a worthy little film with solid performances from the entire cast.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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