Review: The Tattooed Stranger

The Tattooed Stranger is a film noir from RKO, released in 1950. This has a lot of things that make it sound interesting, especially the title! Remember this is 1950, so the whole tattoo thing was not as mainstream as it is today. This movie stars John Miles and Walter Kinsella as new partners on a case. Patricia Barry also stars as a Lab Tech to help solve the case. This film is directed by Edward Montagne, who looks to have started out doing documentary shorts, moved on to a couple of B-noir films, then moved onto television and comedies.

This story starts out with a man walking his dog and comes across a dead girl, in a car, in the middle of Central Park. Soon our hardboiled, experienced detective is on the scene, where he learns he will be teaming up on this case with the rookie detective with the college degree. We get a pretty cookie cutter procedural from here. With the vet and rookie clashing on different issues and techniques as our rookie feels he needs to prove himself and our veteran is secretly intimidated by the smarter rookie.

The acting is nothing to write home about. The story may have been fairly fresh in 1950, but today plays like an average episode of C.S.I.. If you like straight forward police procedural, you may find this interesting. Especially if you would like to compare techniques the police where using in 1950 to what they can do today. Has things changed much? This movie is short and not a horrible, un-watchable mess, but it is not a hidden gem that time has forgotten. I would not recommend it to the casual fan. For those that need to see everything film noir, go for it!

I think this film still sums it up, looks interesting and I want to watch it, but after I have seen it and I don’t plan on revisiting it.

Favorite Tidbit: This is John Miles last film. He seemed to have a bit of charm and charisma and could have had a decent career I would think. Not sure why he quite showbiz after this film, does anybody out there know his history and reason?


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