COUNTERPLOT (director: Kurt Neumann; screenwriter: Richard Blake; cinematographer: Karl Struss; editor: Jodie Copelan; music: Paul Sawtell/Bert Shefter; cast: Forrest Tucker(Brock Miller), Jackie Wayne(Manuel), Allison Hayes (Connie Lane), Gerald Milton (Fritz Bergmann), Richard Verney (Ben Murdock), Miguel Angel Alvarez (Spargo), Ulysses Brenes (David Nibley), Charlie Gibbs (Steve MacGregor), Edmundo Rivera Alvarez (Alfred); Runtime: 77; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Kurt Neumann; MGM; 1959)
“A predictable minor B-film crime drama.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A predictable minor B-film crime drama adequately directed by the workaholic German-born Kurt Neumann(“The Fly”/”The Deerslayer”/”Cattle Drive”). Though written in a convoluted way by Richard Blake, it builds to a well-executed climax.
The surly Brock Miller (Forrest Tucker) flees NYC for San Juan, Puerto Rico, the scene of a murder he was framed for, in order to clear his name. The vic is New York importer and gambler David Nibley (Ulysses Brenes), whose business partner Ben Murdock (Richard Verney) recently insured Nibley for a $200,000 life policy–with him the recipient of the policy in case of death.
While hiding in an abandoned beach house, the local shoeshine boy, Manuel (Jackie Wayne), who idolizes Brock, looks out for him. Meanwhile Brock’s nightclub singer girlfriend Connie (Allison Hayes) arranges to get a gig in a local San Juan club, hoping to be with her man in his time of need. Manuel is jealous of Connie and fails to tell Brock of her arrival or Connie where her boyfriend is hiding out. Nevertheless they unite when Brock finds out on the radio that she’s at the local club and his shady lawyer pal Fritz Bergmann (Gerald Milton), who lives in San Juan, arranges for the lovebirds to meet in his house.
Brock sets out to prove his innocence by setting a trap for the real killer, as he convinces Bergmann it would be profitable for the mouthpiece to get Ben to come to San Juan by telling him that Brock has something to reveal about the murder he should know. The insurance agent MacGregor (Charlie Gibbs) is informed of Brock’s plan and agrees to go along with it. It seems the insurance company will not pay off unless there’s a conviction of anyone but Ben, and is hopeful of not paying off by trapping Ben. It leads to a bloody conclusion, as the truth comes out and the real killer gets gunned down.
Unfortunately this standard crime drama was Neumann’s last film, he died within a year at the age of fifty-two.
REVIEWED ON 11/15/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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