FBI Girl

January 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm (6 Heads, FBI Girl) (, , , , )

FBI Girl – 1951 – United States

FBI Girl is a documentary-style crime drama ala He Walked by Night (1948) and Dragnet. Lead man Cesar Romero is a veteran of countless flicks in all genres (romance, western, crime), also The Joker in the 60s Batman TV series. Director William Berke’s work is mostly crime and noir, including High Powered (1945), Dick Tracy (1945), and Shoot to Kill (1947).

A corrupt governor with a murder rap cooperates with syndicate thugs in a scheme to remove fingerprint records from the Washington DC FBI files. The thugs bait an FBI secretary to do the deed, but her scruples compel her to team up with two (nearly identical) G-Men. Soon she is an undercover hostage in a dangerous sting operation.

FBI Girl opens with swelling fanfare over shots of pristine Washington. A narrator spouts about the FBI’s glorious investigative efforts. Eventually the patriotic rush subsides, but FBI Girl never reaches noir-like cynicism. The criminal governor remorsefully debates confessing and the G-Men’s morally ambiguous tactics are glossed over as they use a lady as a plant, wrecking her relationship with her fiancé. Their justification: “Once you start to compromise things with your personal feelings, you might as well quit this job.” Their ends-justifies-the-means mentality creates a shadowy subtext but FBI Girl tries hard to keep you from seeing it.

Competently scripted and photographed, FBI Girl is decent. Intrigue and action keep it moving and the climatic helicopter and motorboat chase is surprising in an otherwise inexpensive flick. However, FBI Girl’s most interesting bits involve antiquated FBI procedures and laughable sexism. FBI Girl is good fun, but light on hardboiled elements. Give me something more depraved.

Rating: 6/10 Shrunken Heads. I appreciate the hitman dressed as a priest.


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