Destination Murder Film Details
Overview: When Laura Mansfield’s father is killed by a delivery man, the police has few clues and the investigation drags on but Laura decides to find the killer on her own.
Tagline: Love Was One Rap He Couldn’t Beat!
Review: A woman’s father is murdered. Not waiting for the police to solve the crime, she infiltrates the gangster’s club by hiring on as a waitress. She manages to figure out who did what, and ends up in a relationships with the manager and staff, while the police belatedly close in. Seems that her father had been involved in a racket-busting campaign; the murder was revenge from the mob guys. We’ve got Laura (Joyce Mackenzie), Jack (Stanley Clements), Stretch (Hurd Hatfield), Armitage (Albert Dekker), Alice (Myrna Dell), Lieutenant Brewster (James Flavin), and Frank (John Dehner), and Arthur Mansfield (Franklyn Farnum), Laura’s murdered father. Jackie ducks out of a movie theatre at intermission. He’s not just going out for a smoke; he’s off to deliver mayhem. To Arthur Mansfield. His package is a gunshot. His daughter Laura calls an ambulance, but its too late. At police HQ, Frank is quizzed by the Lieutenant. The problem for Frank is that he and his car were seen in Mansfield’s neighborhood. Seems that Frank was Mansfield’s business rival. Laura comes in to confirm that Frank’s car was identical was the murderer’s. Laura gets a ride home from Jackie, one of the delivery guys in the police line-up. For some reason she doesn’t identify him. More surprisingly, she starts dating him. Very quickly, Jackie gets in deep gambling. Next stop, a swanky club, the Vogue. He looks up Armitage there, but Stretch intervenes. Finally, Armitage let’s him in. Now we see that that it was Armitage that drove the getaway car for the hit on Mansfield. Instead of giving in to blackmail, he beats up Frank. With her new boyfriend broke, Laura hits up Stretch for a job. She’s beguiling enough; even hanger-on Alice agrees. Laura’s the new cigarette girl. Armitage says that he’s marrying Alice. More importantly, Stretch and Armitage cook up a cunning plan to finger Jackie as Frank’s hit man. Now it’s Alice’s turn to try blackmail; that is, in cahoots with Jackie. I don’t get why they think a confession will accomplish anything. Who cares if Armitage is nailed if it means Jackie’s confession is really an accusation. We’ll see about that. Alice confides in Laura. The plot works–Armitage pays off. Weirdly, Laura knows nothing about this arrangement; even stranger, Alice is enlisted by Armitage to find the so-called confession. Only now does Jackie reveal who Laura is; we have to figure that Laura knows Jackie is her nemesis, otherwise she wouldn’t play this elaborate game. Now, just to make it interesting, Stretch plots with Alice against Armitage. With the confession, he urges Stretch to take care of the boss man. But, of course, Stretch is playing yet a different game; he’s in cahoots with Armitage against Alice, Jackie, and Laura. Looks like Jackie is dead; bizarrely, the lieutenant tells Laura that they’re really after Armitage. Oh, yeah, he’s a bad guy. But what about her dad’s killer? Meanwhile Alice has turned up dead too. Next thing we know, the two bad guys huddle up. We discover that Stretch is the mastermind. Well, since Alice is dead, Stretch figures it’s time to marry Laura. She gives up the ghost with Stretch; say, you know that guy one of you hoods had killed? Just so you know, he was my dad. The confession wasn’t burned up after all; not only that, it really is the truth. Armitage set up the hit, Jackie carried it out. Stretch puts Laura in a back room while he welcomes Armitage in, allegedly for some business. Aha! Artimage has been drugged; Stretch arranged a gun in his partner’s unwilling hand and fires it into the wall. When Laura comes out of the room, Stretch raises his hands, as though he’s being held at gun point. Laura sees Armitage holding a gun in their general direction. She fires her gun and kills him. Justifiable homicide? Yes. A wee problem, though, is that Stretch’s gun was the one that killed Laura’s father, and his prints are all over Jackie’s confession. Who wrote it, then? So, the police want to use Laura and Frank to incriminate Stretch. Stretch is indeed caught out by Frank. With the cops listening in, Stretch boasts that he was the crime boss. Dumb move. Frank pulls a gun on him; the cops burst in, and a general melee results. Finally, Stretch is shot. “He was a homicidal maniac” notes the Lieutenant. The end. What a noir feast! It’s not really a put-down to say that Destination Murder plays like a feature-length serial. The non-stop action, snappy dialogue, convoluted plot, and limited variety of sets and characters fit that compact genre perfectly. Most of these attributes are found in noir as well. Plus, the characters are fairly well-delineated. That is, except for the main character, Laura. To the extent that the premise works –that the police are looking the other way for much of the time, so that Laura single-handedly has to play detective–only points out what’s wrong with it. The police bypass a murder suspect to find someone who…might also be a murder suspect? That’s just not plausible. If we can swallow that, then there’s Laura, schmoozing these three hoods like she was working undercover for the FBI. I could see the ploy of getting close to one of them, maybe to get some intel on these guys. but all of them? And to cap it all off, she is all set to marry Stretch–the mastermind of the murder plot. Ok, she doesn’t know that he’s top banana, but he’s obviously from the same bunch. And, going back to the murder scene itself, how is it that she doesn’t recognize Jackie? We might say that she didn’t get a good look at him–but he makes her. Possibly she knew all along. She’s just too chameleon-like to be believable: even a pro wouldn’t act so love-lorn and nonchalant with the only three suspects in her father’s murder. The staged murder of Armitage is pretty clever; as is the letter. Who really wrote it? And it may or may not say what Jackie said it did; he changed his tune on what it said anyway. Good to keep some things mysterious. This was highly entertaining, but it’s impossible to suspend disbelief without superglue. Very hard to rate; with a different Laura or some more nuance to the script, this could’ve been great. It’s still very good.
Country: United States
Duration: 72 min
Genre: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Also known as: Destination Murder,Objetivo asesinato,Destinaţia crimă,Destinado a matar,Конечный пункт – убийство