Paying off a blackmail case for a famous professor’s daughter, private eye Clarence Thans becomes ensnared in a web of danger and deceit. Discovering the professor kidnapped, Thans remains stoically unaware of his own imminent demise. Staying with the case despite his better judgment, the sleuth unearths a valuable patent and meets the professor’s mistress and a snoopy landlord (Conrad Brooks, Plan 9 from Outer Space), while crossing paths with two rival gangs of thugs, each ample of motive and desire to finish Thans. When not gruffly warning Thans beside tossed suspicions, cops arrive a second or two too late to offer any help. No one is as appears and everyone has a stake. For the detective, the lure of the buck and the desire to stay alive always walk a tightrope wire. News of the professor’s death erupts a final fight in a snowy hideaway over fate of the patent and those still in doomed pursuit.
Shot in glorious black and white with an original jazz score and a Washington DC landscape, the film glistens with tone, feel, and classic Film Noir era dialect, serving up a tale that harkens back to an era when story trumped computer tricks. Artistic elements run parallel, invigorating the storyline with ambient city sound and bringing bright backgrounds to dark foregrounds for the sensorial realism of art noir. So when palettes favor deception in a fatal incarnation, perhaps time is ripe for a taste of desperation.
Mark Byrne, Donna Carter, Conrad Brooks, Clark Fox, Gail Maureen Hansen, Kilof Legge
2010 The Indie Gathering; 2014 Mid Atlantic Nostalgia
© 2008 Absurd Productions Pictures