Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Man Betrayed (1941)



Never heard of A Man Betrayed before? I am sure not many of you have unless you are a fan of John Wayne or Frances Dee. I looked for this film because of Dee since quite a few of her films are hard to find and she did not make that much compared to other actresses of her time. I was not expecting A Man Betrayed to be particularly good and it was not but it was still entertaining.
            A young basketball player from a small town named Johnny Smith is killed while he is in the city. He was shot, came out of a nightclub stumbled onto the streets, and was hit by a car. The town’s boss a man named Thomas Cameron goes to the newspaper he controls telling them that a kid killed himself. A reporter on the scene knows that Johnny did not kill himself but there is noting he can do he cannot print the story.
            Lynn Hollister (Wayne) is a lawyer in the small town Johnny came from determined to find out who killed his friend. His search brings him to Cameron. Lynn goes to Cameron’s house but Cameron refuses to see him. Instead Cameron’s daughter Sabra (Dee) sees Wayne. She plays a game with him saying she thought he was sent by a blind date who did not want to go out with her. Sabra takes Lynn to the nightclub Inferno which her father runs and where Johnny was shot. Clues abound that Johnny was there and some of the patrons had a hand in his murder.
            No shock here, Lynn falls in love with Sabra. He has no idea that she has been playing him to an extent. Cameron gets Lynn a job by having him go around campaigning. With Lynn’s help and other dirty dealings Cameron is elected to whatever government position he held before.
            Lynn eventually gets everyone connected to Cameron and Johnny’s death arrested even Cameron himself. He gets his heartbroken by Sabra but her father convinces her that she should be with Lynn. Happy ending with the lead man and woman running away to his home town together.
            John Wayne and Frances Dee were an odd pairing. I think any actress paired with John Wayne was a little odd because he was just not the typical romantic leading man. Also I think Frances Dee was so gorgeous she made any leading man she was with look dull and unromantic (besides Joel McCrea). As I always usually mention when I watch a John Wayne film I like him outside of his Westerns. I thought he was good in this film with its weird mix of drama and comedy. There was a scene where Lynn has to take Sabra away from a big fight that broke out. She refuses to leave so he puts a table cloth over her head and carries her out. Both Dee and Wayne played that scene perfectly they were so funny.
            I cracked up a bit with the casting for Cameron and one of his goons named Morris Slade. In 1934 Edward Ellis played Clyde Wynant and Harold Huber played Arthur Nunheim in The Thin Man. I knew they looked familiar the moment I saw them and got all excited when I realized they were in The Thin Man.
            A Man Betrayed as I mentioned is a weird mix of comedy and drama. The genres do not mix too well but that does not ruin the story. It was cute seeing John Wayne and Frances Dee play some comedy especially together. The story was good. You know who committed the crime you just have to wait and watch how the story unfolds and Lynn eventually gets to Cameron. A Man Betrayed is not widely available to view. If TCM ever airs the film give it a try.