Crime Against Joe (1956)

Joe Manning (John Bromfield) is a Korean War veteran who came back from the war with lots of scars. He’s become an artist, but his art never seems to match his vision. He’s also developed a drinking problem.

Joe’s mother (Frances Morris) is as supportive of him as she can be, trying to gently push him in a better direction, but his reputation with everyone else is bad.

One night, before he heads out drinking, his mother advises him: “Find a nice girl, Joe. A nice, imperfect, human type of girl. And bring her home to meet mother.”

(Image via Movie Poster Shop)
(Image via Movie Poster Shop)

That wish of Mrs. Manning doesn’t exactly pan out. That night, Joe flirts with a torch singer named Irene (Alika Louis), who is soon found dead. The town’s got a serial attacker on its hands, with one woman having escaped him before. Irene is the latest victim… making Joe a prime suspect.

No one believes that Joe is innocent except a carhop nicknamed “Slacks” (Julie London). Will she be able to prove Joe’s innocence?

Crime Against Joe was directed by Lee Sholem (Emergency Hospital). The screenplay was written by Robert C. Dennis (Perry Mason) from a story by Decla Denning (The Stranger). This 70-minute crime drama comes from Bel-Air Productions.

The performances in this film are slightly stiff, very “mid-level TV drama” quality. The whole thing kind of feels like an extended episode of a TV mystery series, like Alfred Hitchcock Presents. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you’re a fan of classic TV mysteries, as I am. It’s unsurprising, too, seeing as screenwriter Robert C. Dennis actually wrote quite a few episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents!

Julie London’s performance as Frances, aka “Slacks,” stands out as more natural than the rest of the cast. London does well in her role, and she gets a lot of screen time, which works in favor of Crime Against Joe.

John Bromfield isn’t stellar, but he does a decent job in the role of Joe, and he’s much better in his scenes with London than when he’s expected to carry the film solo. The two pair well together.

Crime Against Joe tells a fairly standard tale of wrongful accusation, but the story is interesting enough to keep the viewer’s attentions anyway. Not a bad watch for a quick, minor crime drama. The score: 3/5

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