Mary (Ava Gardner) has returned home to her small “whistle stop” town after two years away.
Since she’s back, she wants to reconnect with her old love, Kenny (George Raft). Kenny has become bitter after years of unhappiness, though, so Mary decides to take up a little fling with Kenny’s rival, a nightclub owner named Lew (Tom Conway).
Kenny’s friend Gitlo (Victor McLaglen) is a bartender at Lew’s nightclub. Gitlo hatches a plan to rob and kill Lew with Kenny’s help, hiding the corpse so Mary will think he simply decided not to return from a trip to Detroit rather than suspecting the fact that he’s been killed.
Leonide Moguy directs 1946’s Whistle Stop, which appears in the “50 Dark Crimes” Mill Creek set. The film is based on Maritta M. Wolff’s novel.
Whistle Stop has some pretty snappy dialogue, especially coming from Ava’s character. She’s quite well-cast here, as the beautiful woman who can rope in any man she wants.
Despite all of Ava’s beauty and the budding love triangle she’s embroiled in, the film is a slow-starter. As easy as it is to see why both men would fall for her and why they would fight over her, none of the three characters have a stellar charm or any redeeming qualities that make us truly care about them. The characters are very weak, despite the talent filling the roles.
On top of that, Ava doesn’t have stellar chemistry with either man, which effectively ruins any investment the viewer could have had in the love triangle plot.
The film eventually picks up steam in a few places, but it never becomes a great film or truly draws the viewer in. It seems longer than it is because much of the material is so dull.
Whistle Stop is a film that wants to be suspenseful and dramatic, but never succeeds on either count. It isn’t bad enough to be corn and it isn’t good enough to be worth recommending. It boasts a talented cast and some very nice photography, but overall it is a disappointment. The score: 1.5/5