ROGUES GALLERY (1944)
Article 3956 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Albert Herman
Featuring Frank Jenks, Robin Raymond, H.B. Warner
What it is: A wisecracking reporter mystery
A wisecracking reporter and her photographer attempt to get an interview with an inventor who has developed an amazing new eavesdropping device. However, they stumble upon murder and intrigue when it becomes obvious someone is trying to steal the plans for the device.
The fantastic content in this one is a Gizmo Maguffin, but there are two types of Gizmo Maguffins. There’s the pure Gizmo Maguffin, in which the device isn’t used at all but merely a pawn in the melodramatic turns of the story. And then there is the self-referencing Gizmo Maguffin, in which the device is used to solve the mystery of the attempts to steal it. Given the nature of this device, I wasn’t surprised it turned out to be the latter of the two. In fact, very little surprised me here; the characters are straight out of the reporter cliche playbook, the plot turns are by-the-numbers, and even the identity of the villain is mind-numbingly obvious. On a side note, you will note that I omitted any apostrophes in the title. So did the title card in the movie, though I do note that some of the promotional materials (the image on IMDB, for example) do use an apostrophe.