Home Year 1955 Double Jeopardy (1955) movie review

Double Jeopardy (1955) movie review

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A drunk, Sam (Robert Armstrong) stumbles home one night, looks out the window and sees his wife Marge (Gale Robbins) necking with another man, Jeff Calder (Jack Kelly) in the car outside. On going inside they argue and, as she’s about to leave, she’s stopped in her tracks by him revealing that he has money. This money, it transpires, is the proceeds of him blackmailing Emmett Devery (Jon Litel), his former business partner.

Marge is a manipulator, working her husband and his affection for her to get exactly what she wants – this in spite of Sam knowing all about her and her relationship on the side with Jeff. Sadly for her it all backfires after Sam’s accidentally killed by Jeff. Jeff, it turns out, wants the money for himself. No wonder too, he’s a used car salesman. I can’t imagine the commission is all that great. This then leads Marc Hill (Rod Cameron), a lawyer and friend of Emmett, stepping in with Emmett’s daughter Barbara (Allison Hayes) to uncover the truth.

It’s after 35 minutes that the true purpose of the story reveals itself, a slow build towards a fight and an arrest at the end. It doesn’t stretch on any longer than the story will allow, or indeed beyond the film’s budget. At 70 minutes this is exactly as Mubi described it, a cinematic palette cleanser. You can check your brain at the door and not have to worry all too much about the story’s complexity.

As far as 1950s B-pictures are concerned – and it may surprise some to note that they weren’t all science fiction stories – this is a film that is entirely par for the course. There are no unexpected twists and turns, no more characters than the story demands. There are less than 10 main speaking roles throughout, with the core focus on, at best, six of those characters.

As if to emphasise its relatively low budget, the same shots and locations are used time and time again. It’s also cut together in a very quick and simple manner. There’s barely any coverage and a lot of scenes play out without any significant cuts. If you get more than one angle on a character at any one time, you’re lucky.

The ending is very quick to arrive, and without much deduction needed from Marc or involvement from the police. There’s a punch up at the very end which is borderline hilarious, simply because of how it’s structured. The police just happen to be driving past at the time and everything is tied up neatly in a bow. The bad guys (and girls) are arrested and Marc gets the girl. The end.

While it’s not a classic by any stretch, Double Jeopardy is an entertaining 70 minutes and doesn’t try to do anything more than is absolutely necessary. Plus, the alternate title is Crooked Ring. Genius, if only for the fact the only crooked ring is Marge’s wedding ring, and by extension her marriage to Sam. Boom boom.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Double Jeopardy (1955)
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