"You were expecting maybe Senator Claghorn?"
In the 1947 B-flick Exposed, wiseass Los Angeles private eye BELINDA PRENTICE is hired by the wealthy Colonel Bentry to investigate his stepson and heir Bill Forestman, who's been acting rather peculiar of late.
But before Belinda and her over-sized ex-Marine assistant Iggy Broty (I swear I'm not making this up -- that's his name) even get really cracking on the case, the Colonel is found murdered in the library of his mansion, a hypodermic needle lying near the stiffand a letter opener jammed in his chest.
This is typical B-movie fare for its era, full of stock characters, secret experiments, loutish thugs, large sums of money bouncing around, shady characters with shadier pasts and hired gunmen (including B-flick fave Bob Steele as "Chicago"), a cornball romantic ending and, of course, someone to put the ambitious woman in her place -- in this case, Belinda's dad, who just happens to be the police inspector assigned to the Bentry murder.
The plot's hokey and convoluted, and the holes are not quite paved over by all the fill-the-gaps chatter, making the film feel talk heavy and rushed, as though they didn't have time to create scenes that would show, not tell. It hangs together a little better than most , but there's nothing particularly memorable about it except for maybe a fight scene between Iggy and Chicago, and Belinda herself.
Mara is quite good in the role, her character revealing far more smarts and competence than women were usually permitted in these types of films, and her comeuppance is on her terms, for a change. Her wisecracks are a breezy mix of toughness and mischieviousness, as though she's enjoying herself, but there aren't not enough of them. And Belinda's not just smart or witty -- she's successful too. She dresses well, drives a snazzy Lincoln Continental convertible and works out of an office with marble walls, stylish blond wood furniture and a full-time secretary. Her fee? $75 a day plus expenses. Not too shabby.
Her chartacter deserves a better movie than this.
THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS OF ALL THINGS
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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