This one is based on the novel, CASE FILE FBI by Gordon and Mildred Gordon. The Gordons also wrote the screenplay for the film.
This one starts with the murder of a gas station employee. The man had spotted a wanted killer and was calling in the info to the FBI. The killer, Joe Bassett is heading to L.A. to hook up with his girl, Martha Hyer.
FBI Agent Kenneth Tobey is assigned to track down Bassett. At the same time Tobey is involved with two other cases, a man, Gene Reynolds who has been grabbed up for driving a stolen car. Then there is a case involving a threat of kidnapping. A woman, Ruth Roman, has been called and told her daughter will be taken, if she does not fork over a 10 grand insurance payment she just got.
Broderick Crawford plays Tobey's boss in the FBI chain of command. The deal here is that there could be a link between the last two cases to the first one. It is Tobey's job to unravel the twists. Tobey gets shot and killed during a stake-out for the killer, Bassett.
The FBI now pulls out all the stops as they give all three cases top priority. The film follows Crawford and the various agents as they track down the leads and eliminate them. They solve one case and move on to the next as they look for Tobey's killer.
The women involved in the various story threads, is what makes this film really click. Ruth Roman, Suzanne Alexander, Marisa Paven and Martha Hyer are the female leads. Miss Hyer in particular shines as she keeps thrusting her upper-works at Crawford and crew, as she cracks wise with lines like, "Do you mind if I put something on? I don't like men staring at me before lunch".
This documentary style noir was directed by Arnold Laven. He cranked out several watchable film noir early in his career, WITHOUT WARNING! as well as VICE SQUAD.
Film noir specialist Joseph Biroc handled the cinematography duties on the production. Two time Oscar nominated, and one time winner, Biroc was known for his work on, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, CRY DANGER, THE KILLER THAT STALKED NEW YORK, LOAN SHARK, WITHOUT WARNING!, ATTACK, TENSION AT TABLE ROCK, FORTY GUNS, CHINA GATE, LADY IN CEMENT and THE TOWERING INFERNO.
This one has the odd slow spot but for the most part moves right along. There is some excellent location shooting involved here.
The writers, The Gordons would dust this one off in 1963 and use most of the story to make, EXPERIMENT IN TERROR with Glenn Ford.