Red Light (1949) tells the story of a successful San Francisco trucking magnate played by George Raft*, whose brother has returned from service as an Army chaplain and will now be going full time as a Catholic Priest, complete with his own church. The brother is killed (by Harry Morgan! at the direction of Raymond Burr!) in a revenge scheme as Raft sent up Burr for some crooked dealings.
|This poster is basically lying about what this movie is about.|
Raft's dying brother whispers to him that if he's looking for who killed him, the answer is in the Gideon's Bible in his room. Raft goes to claim it and it's disappeared, so he runs around the Southwest trying to find the Bible, as any of five people could have taken it. Virgina Mayo is one of those folks, and she gets wrapped up in helping George Raft and being very white bread and pretty.
In any movie you see him in, Raft has more or less one mode, and here it's tilted toward impatient anger from the moment his brother dies. I don't know that the performance is flat, exactly, but sometimes the line delivery can be all so one-note, it becomes almost funny.
There's a sort of weird mid-20th Century evangelism to the movie, with Raft maybe learning the lessons in the Bible are there for men like him who are in real trouble - including a sort of homily from a soldier who (in a goofy flashback sequence) contemplates suicide until a window washer leaps through the window and saves him.
It all sort of feels like Reader's Digest got it's hands on your standard potboiler noir and said "I know how to spruce this up!".
Anyway, not really my cup of tea.
*Raft also played a trucking magnate in They Drive By Night, which was just a better movie by anyone's measure.