Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Whodunnit Wednesday - Money Madness (1948)

Somehow, I don't think Ward Cleaver would approve if he caught the Beav doing this stuff.

Seriously - robbing banks, poisoning a poor, defenseless (though incredibly annoying) old lady, framing her niece as an accomplice - these are not the kinds of actions we usually associate with the man TV Guide ranked as one of the top 50 all-time TV dads.

Actually, before he became known to a generation as the achetypical laid-back suburban-philosophy spewing dad of Wally and the Beaver, Beaumont was regularly known for his tough guy roles. He portrayed hard-boiled detective Michael Shayne in a series of five films beginning in 1946, and guest-starred in a number of detective series on both sides of the law. As a matter of fact, it's said that Beaumont resented his role as Ward Cleaver, feeling that it overshadowed his true abilities.

He definitely strikes a different note in this film, portraying bank robber Steve Clark who has just pulled a $200,000 heist. Looking for a way to safely launder the money, he stops off in a small California town. Stashing the money in a safe-deposit box, Clark quickly gets a job as a cab driver and just as quickly starts making time with local lovely Julie Saunders. Saunders lives alone except for her sickly and demanding (but rich) aunt. When Clark sees the set-up he immerses himself in Julie's life while at the same time poisoning her aunt. His plan is that when the elderly lady dies, Julie will inherit everything in the house, including the robbery money which he will secrete in a trunk in the attic. then they can run away together and be free. The real question, of course, is just how desperate is Julie, and will she go along with the plan.

Let's take a look, shall we?

And, the skinny:
Title: Money Madness
Release Date: 1948
Running Time: 73min
Black and White
Starring: Hugh Beaumont, Frances Rafferty
Directed by: Sam Newfield
Produced by: Sigmund Neufeld

Money Madness is available to watch or download for free here.
It's also available for purchase on DVD from Amazon: Money Madness.

Until next time, Happy Teasure Hunting,
-Professor Damian


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