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Noir Pick: Murder is My Beat

By Violet Lucca

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(Warner Archive, $18.95)

Murder is My Beat Edward G. Ulmer

Fans of pointy Fifties boobs take note: this poverty row noir is for you. The first half of Edgar Ulmer’s 1955 film economically unravels a seemingly bland murder mystery through stock footage and the narrated flashbacks of detective Ray Patrick (Paul Langton). But what raises doubts about whodunit in the mind of the Brylcreem-addicted cop—and effectively ends his career—are the curves and possible innocence of tried-and-convicted Eden Lane (the tragic starlet Barbara Payton, in her penultimate screen appearance). Jumping with Eden from the train taking her to prison, Patrick attempts to find the man who actually committed the murder and instead discovers a blackmail plot. Most of its expressionist-tinged visual flourishes are withheld until the very end, with a final twist that’s legitimately thrilling.

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