The Return of the Whistler (1948)

THE RETURN OF THE WHISTLER (1948)
Article 1870 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-28-2006
Posting Date: 9-25-2006
Directed by D. Ross Lederman
Featuring Michael Duane, Lenore Aubert, Richard Lane

When his prospective bride disappears from a hotel in a small town, a man hooks up with a private detective in an attempt to locate her.

This was the last of the eight films based on the radio character, The Whistler. It’s not bad, mostly because the story (by Cornell Woolrich) is fairly decent, it’s efficiently directed, and fairly well acted. It is, however, devoid of the fantastic content that makes me cover these movies; other than the Whistler himself (who, since he exists more as a narrative device than a character, is extremely marginal to begin with), there is nothing here that puts it in the realm of the fantastic, and there really is no horror mood to speak of. I do somewhat miss the presence of Richard Dix, who appeared in all of the other seven movies in the series, but he had retired from acting by this time, and since he wasn’t playing a continuing character, his presence really wasn’t necessary. The Whistler is used a little clumsily in this one; I don’t mind him appearing at the beginning, and adding his voice to the proceedings at certain points, but having him reappear on the wall each time is just a little corny. Fans of THE BLOB may want to keep their eyes open for Olin Howlin, who appears here as a caretaker of an estate and adds a bit of comic relief to the proceedings.

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