Unknown Man, The (1951) *
Directed by Richard Thorpe. Cast: Walter Pidgeon, Ann Harding, Barry Sullivan, Keefe Brasselle (Rudi Wallchek),Lewis Stone, Eduard Franz, Richard Anderson, Dawn Addams, Philip Ober, Konstantin Shayne, et al. MGM. 86 min.
Pidgeon is a sought after, much respected attorney. He’s never handled a criminal case. A lawyer who has, pleads with him to take on the defense of a young man, Rudi (Keefe Brasselle,) accused of the murder of another young man. Rudi has a lawless past, yet Pidgeon believes he is innocent this time … and wins the case. But he later stumbles on proofs of Rudi’s guilt as well as his association with a huge crime association led, ironically, by Eduard Franz who is the leader (or one of them) of the Crime Commission of the city.
Pidgeon, who has pure, ingrained love for The Law, stabs Franz to death and now re-defends Rudi who is again the prime suspect. Etc., etc.
A miserably weak, confused and confusing , unlikely –not to say impossible –plot that does no service to any of its participants, no honor to the script or the players. I watched it because I kept wondering if the tale would make some sense eventually. It does not.