Yes, it's a bit corny and unconvincing at times, but it's also fast and fun...
Lady at Midnight (1948)
Another Sam Newfield low budget and low quality film. Why watch any of these really sometimes miserable films? Because of themes that get handled, and for occasional moments that rise up. This one is not bad in many ways, even if it's not exactly great. Most of all it's not pretentious.
Here the thrust of the plot is interesting--a couple with a young adopted child finds that the biological mother wants the kid back. And there is a legal problem with how the adoption was handled years before.
This is pretty heartbreaking stuff. Too bad the parents are more likable than convincing in their shock at possibly losing their child. The star is really the little girl, who is cheerful and sad and clever as needed. And so you do really feel for her when she learns she might have to leave her parents. There's a memorable scene where the detective gets into a talk with the girl in the house kitchen, and they start talking guns, and the girl knows more about tommy guns than the cop. It's great, for a minute.
A wrinkle in this whole enterprise (and a good one) is that a woman snuck into the house in the opening scenes and talked to the girl (at midnight). And then she is found murdered the next morning. So this leads to a bit of danger, and in an homage to James Cagney, we see the main character (the dad) appear at an open door and fall forward and crash to the floor.
It's all in fun, and it succeeds that far.
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