FLAXY MARTIN. Warner Brothers, 1949. Virginia Mayo, Zachary Scott, Dorothy Malone, Tom D’Andrea, Helen Westcott, Douglas Kennedy, Elisha Cook Jr., Douglas Fowley. Monte Blue. Director: Richard L. Bare.
Speaking of Douglass Fowley, he plays a snide cop with an exaggerated opinion of his own brains in Flaxy Martin, one of those great Warner’s B’s like they just don’t do no more. Zachary Scott is an underworld lawyer who wants to quit working for gangster Tom D’Andrea, but can’t tear himself loose from chanteuse Virginia Mayo, who — unbeknownst to Scott — has a business/pleasure relationship with D’Andrea herself, and is being well-rewarded for keeping him on the string.
Tom D’Andrea [later best known for playing Chester A. Riley’s close buddy on TV] does a fine job as a virile, half-sharp gangster, kind of in the nasty-Ronald-Reagan mode, and stands up quite nicely against noir archetypes Scott and Elisha Cook Jr., who is a bit scarier than usual here as a sawed-off wanna-be who keeps calling Scott “Shamus” – shouldn’t it be Mouthpiece?
Director Richard Bare is best remembered for his work on 77 Sunset Strip, but he does a workmanlike job here, making the most of bits like Scott being stalked through the streets by Cook Jr., a roof-top fist-fight, and a really memorable scene of our hero leaping from a speeding train and plummeting down a ravine.
Anyway, the story offers no surprises whatever, and the characters seem motivated by nothing so much as a need to move the plot along, but there’s enough old-fashioned Style here, backed up by a syrupy echt-40s Musical score, to make it lotsa fun.
— Reprinted from A Shropshire Sleuth #71, May 1995.