Edited by Solomon on 10/4/2015, 4:39 am
Summary: Jean Gillie wants all $400,000
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Existing reviews of "Decoy" (1946) nail its good and bad points more than adequately. Let's move on. This movie is a lot of fun to watch, and for being made in 1946 it shows a rapid grasp by its makers of the hard-boiled crime essentials that were beginning to reach the Hollywood screen and might pass the censor, especially if they came from a lesser studio like Monogram.
It's fun sometimes to watch a character who's 100% bad. Jean Gillie's character is thoroughly manipulative and murderous in her single-minded quest to get the entire $400,000 from a robbery (not shown in the film). By gunshot she dispatches Herbert Rudley, a doctor whom she has used to revive the executed corpse of her partner in crime, Robert Armstrong. Not quite done in but soon to achieve that condition, he opens the movie in a wonderful zombie-like state. In some of his acting before that event, he is unfortunately equally wooden. Gillie's maniacal laughter at gaining her objective reveals her as a combined sociopath and psychopath. She runs down her underworld confederate, Edward Norris, who seems not to have psyched her out as well as Armstrong did. She needs no help from a Fred MacMurray. She does her own murders. Armstrong was shrewd enough to have planted a decoy treasure chest just in case he was double-crossed. He has the last laugh, although Rudley has a bigger laugh. Sheldon Leonard is a cop who acts like the hood he often played.
It is said that when Gillie uses her car to end the life of Norris that there are prints showing Gillie running him over (back and forth) several times. This is not what happens in the old print shown on Croatian television and not what happens in the new DVD release. Until someone reputable who has seen this (like Eddie Muller) confirms this, I will believe that the movie is being shown as released. Perhaps it was filmed that way and the Hays Office caused it to be cut; and maybe someone involved in the production later revealed this. Who knows?