Kid Glove Killer

Screening on Film
Directed by Fred Zinneman.
With Van Heflin, Marsha Hunt, Lee Bowman.
US, 1942, 35mm, black & white, 74 min.
Print source: HFA

The B-film’s important role as a lower-risk stage for testing new talent is showcased in the striking directorial debut of Austrian émigré Fred Zinnemann and the first starring role for Van Heflin. A taut police procedural, Kid Glove Killer was an expansion of an episode from MGM’s long-running shorts series Crime Does Not Pay, two-reeler cautionary tales that traced the birth, evolution and successful extermination by a police agency of a wide range of criminal activities and enterprises, from drunk driving and embezzlement to counterfeiting and smuggling. Here Van Heflin is a wisecracking and casually sexist forensic criminologist pitted against a corrupt District Attorney and rival for the affection of his lab assistant Marsha Hunt, who suddenly finds herself caught in the middle of a tense cat-and-mouse game. Writer John C. Higgins imparts Kid Glove Killer with rich details of forensic crime work that point towards his efficient police procedural screenplays for Anthony Mann (T-Men, He Walked By Night, Border Incident).

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