Created by William Edgar and Ray Dennis Steckler
"My whole life has been a movie, but I keep getting the reels mixed up."
-- Charlie Smith
Scrambling young LA private detective CHARLIE SMITH is hired to retrieve a satchel of heroin stolen by Carrie Erskine, a burglarwith a thing for Catwoman suits. Unfortunately, by the time Charlie tracks her down, someone else has already ripped her off and she's in hiding. And that's when the real fun starts, in this 1969 piece of knucklehead noir.
There are, needless to say, there are numerous other thugs, thieves and other underworld denizens of dubious moral character also after the dope (and all out to doublecross each other) -- but Charlie manages, with the help of Carrie, with whom he has become romantically involved, to outwit them all. Or has he?
We're talking below-low budget here, with the lead played by cult fave Ray Dennis Steckler, who's also the director and writer, while the femme fatale is played by his wife, Carolyn Brandt. Nonetheless, the film is surprisingly effective, and definitely has its moments.
But then, Ray Dennis Steckler was known for his long run of zero budget films in the sixties, including The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies, Rat Pfink a Boo Boo and The Thrill Killers, renowned for their minimal budgets and often surprisingly memorable characters..
Charlie, for example, is a hoot. Despite the Bogie-like voice-over narration, he's no Marlowe. He's actually something of a slacker, a self-depreciating young detective who's seemingly mostly interested in goofing around on his boat and chasing girls, but he manages to rise to the occasion -- think a less well-scrubbed Richie Brockelman.
Mind you, this is no lost classic. Lines are flubbed, nobody's a master thespian, some of the dialogue is pure cheese, and the limitations of a shoestring budget are often painfully obvious. It could be argued that this just adds to the charm.
Just to be on the safe side, serve with cold beer.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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