Our hero, a brilliant detective named Duncan MacClain:
He's blind - hence the seeing-eye dog. As the movie begins, he's visited by an old friend:
She pours out her heart: her step-daughter has taken up with a rake. An absolute roue. She knows he’s horrid because she once, err, went with him. What can she do to save her step-daughter without worrying her husband, who, by the way, is a World Famous Scientist working on a Secret Formula?
It’s a classic case of the elegant older woman attempting to save heedless youth. Alas, she doesn’t have the director on her side; she’s turned into plain-ma right away, lacking only a bun.
As for the daughter, she’s a nasty little bitch.
It’s a young Joan Crawford! Actually, no; not even Joan Crawford was a young Joan Crawford when this one was made.
We'll get back to the daughter.
The detective, I suspect, was based on a series of books. Let’s check . . . indeed. He’s like Nero Wolfe, in a way - burly, eccentric, able to make brilliant deductions after he’s learned key pieces of evidence, like “it was eight o’clock” or “I thought he’d eaten licorice the day before.” As Nero had Archie, MacClain has a guy named Marty to do his legwork. (In the books he was called . . . Spud Savage!) But he doesn’t need help.
Which brings us to the best fight clip of 100 Mysteries yet.
Since it’s an early 40s movie that has a famous scientist, you know there are Nazis are involved. Spies, traitors, devious men who are always wearing formal jackets, and a bona-fide mannish dame-Nazi who strikes around in a white canvas outfit. Edward Albert is great; Friday is one of the great crime-solving dogs of movie history; Marty’s amusing. And it's short.
Oh, the young nasty cruel girl?
Someone who become unfairly connected with empty 50s wholesome sitcom inanity, but was one of the loveliest women of the 20th century: Donna Reed.