Brenda Starr, Reporter (1945, Wallace Fox), Chapter 3: Taken for a Ride

Taken for a Ride’s opening cliffhanger resolution isn’t particularly exciting–in fact, giving so much information about what’s going on outside the situation to resolve the cliffhanger makes it all procedural, instead of suspenseful–but it still almost leads to a good shootout.

Joan Woodbury and Syd Saylor (who can be dashing and heroic when he needs to be, which is one of Brenda Starr’s best developments) are pinned down inside a warehouse. Gangsters are shooting at them. What can they do? Well, Woodbury pulls a snubnosed revolver and shoots back.

It’d be awesome if the action didn’t cut to cops Kane Richmond and Joe Devlin trying to get into the warehouse.

Wasted potential, though Saylor does get an amusing moment.

The rest of Taken for a Ride has Woodbury and Richmond–independently–trying to figure out how singer Cay Forester fits into the gangsters’ plot. It comes right after Richmond condescends to Woodbury about her job performance as a reporter; even though Richmond is the romantic lead, he’s an unlikable jackass.

All of the audio for the second half of Ride is lost. So, the exact details of the plot are a tad mysterious. The cliffhanger setup in Ride is pretty cool; it’s maybe the first time Charles Henkel Jr.’s editing impresses.

The chapter also brings in Lottie Harrison as Woodbury’s cousin and roommate. She does better than William ‘Billy’ Benedict’s annoying newsboy. Though it’s probably not Benedict’s fault as much as director Fox’s or the screenwriters’.

Taken for a Ride keeps Brenda Starr moving well enough; the chapter never veers off track. Opening with Benedict’s tediously acted scene ends up helping it. Everything else is a step up.


Directed by Wallace Fox; screenplay by Ande Lamb and George H. Plympton, based on the comic strip by Dale Messick; director of photography, Ira H. Morgan; edited by Charles Henkel Jr.; music by Edward J. Kay; produced by Sam Katzman; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Joan Woodbury (Brenda Starr), Kane Richmond (Lt. Larry Farrell), Syd Saylor (Chuck Allen), George Meeker (Frank Smith), Wheeler Oakman (Heller), Cay Forester (Vera Harvey), Marion Burns (Zelda), Lottie Harrison (Abretha), Ernie Adams (Charlie), Jack Ingram (Kruger), Anthony Warde (Muller), John Merton (Joe Schultz), William ‘Billy’ Benedict (Pesky), and Joe Devlin (Sgt. Tim Brown).


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