Cult Figures Behind and In Front Of Cameras for Murder Is My Beat (1955)
This "noir" (by broadest definition) directed
by Ed Ulmer took a drubbing from Variety: "... a shoddily made melodrama,
scarcely meriting fill-in playdates or the Allied Artists releasing label."
It was ID'ed by the trade as British-made, though street-shooting is obviously
LA. Latter locale made room at three venues for a first-run, where Murder Is My
Beat backed Rage At Dawn for a single May week. "Fill-in," as
Variety put it, was right. The pic played key dates only as support, to rise or
fall upon appeal, or lack, of the main feature. Murder has merit, if elusive,
as no Ulmer/Barbara Payton tandem could fail to intrigue. The story twists
nicely; I wasn't outright bored, and Payton had way of elevating cheapies
lowlier than Murder Is My Beat. Pity that Payton would work no more after this,
her final acting credit (is it true she appears as an extra
in 4 For Texas?).
Murder directing Ulmer makes his spit/glue sets arresting, and holds still on
actors as they encircle furniture. Patience for indoor talk, lots of it, is
needed. Pics like Murder Is My Beat got by because theatres, and drive-ins at a
peak of ubiquity, needed product however they could get it, thus standards
greatly relaxed. I'm glad to call Murder Is My Beat noir if that helps get such
rarity released, and quality 1.85 from AA elements take onus off micro-budget
Ulmer and company had to cope with.