The Missing Juror (Columbia, 1944) directed by Budd Boetticher (as Oscar Boetticher Jr.)
We’re going low-budget today with a fun little picture from early in Budd Boetticher’s directorial career. (Thanks to The Nitrate Diva for recommending this one.)
Harry Wharton (George Macready) is convicted for a murder he swears he didn’t commit, but his pleas don’t do him any good. The PI investigating the case, George Sasbo (George Lloyd), also doesn’t do him any good, even after Sasbo is gunned down and claims with his last breath that Wharton was framed.
With Wharton locked up, someone starts killing members of the jury who put him in the joint. Reporter Joe Keats (Jim Bannon) knows there’s a story here, and nothing’s going to stop him from getting, except maybe an antiques dealer named Alice (Janis Carter, below right).
There’s much I didn’t tell you, but you’ll have more fun discovering it for yourself. This Columbia picture would make a nice addition to a future Indicator Noir box set. At 66 minutes, it doesn’t take up much room, and it’s fun to see Macready, Bannon, Carter, and Mike Mazurki having a great time. You can find the film on YouTube and watch it on your lunch hour (if your boss doesn’t mind the extra six minutes). The version I watched also included Spanish subtitles, but I was fine with that.