Ace Detective Agency has been hired… to babysit an infant.
What they don’t know is that he baby is just a cover. They’ve really been hired by a couple of jewel thieves who want their loot protected, so they hire someone to “watch the baby” and make sure that no one enters the room where the jewels are hidden.
Lambert Hillyer directs The Case of the Babysitter (1947). The film stars Tom Neal, Pamela Blake and Allen Jenkins.
As you may remember from my review of Detour, I reeeeeally (REALLY) enjoyed Tom Neal’s performance there, so I was excited to watch another of his films.
The film begins with a couple of my favorite things: newspaper clippings and police line-ups. Due to my love of newspapers and the frequency of their use in old movies, I’m always a total sucker for those montages of newspaper pages piling up on top of each other, so of course this opening drew me into the film.
Once the actual story kicks in, the film gets pretty silly, making for a fun little mystery-comedy. There’s quite a bit of witty dialogue, and the performances by the fantastic cast (Allen Jenkins in particular) emphasize the script’s sense of humor.
As enjoyable as the film is as a comedy, I do take issue with it as a whole for one major reason: it is SO incredibly short. Clocking in at only 45 minutes, the script allows little time for real character development or plot complications. The pace is appropriately quick and the story is nowhere near dull, but the film it feels incomplete and ends very abruptly.
The Case of the Babysitter is a decent watch in spite of its problems, but with TMP favorites Tom Neal and Allen Jenkins in the cast, I did expect more out of it. It’s also an ill fit for a triple feature set supposedly dedicated to “forgotten noir.” The score: 2.5/5