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BILL ELLIOTT IN 'CHAIN OF EVIDENCE' WITH TIMOTHY CAREY

Bill Elliott in Chain of Evidence Year: 1957 Rating: ***1/2

The low-budget, room-to-room, television-like direction aside, CHAIN OF EVIDENCE — the penultimate thriller with former cowboy actor Bill Elliott as friendly cop Lt. Andy Doyle — is intriguing enough, featuring Jimmy Lydon as an ex-convict with amnesia,  a favorite Film Noir disease allowing the plot to fall into two other Noir staples: a wife and lover kills her rich husband, and poor Jimmy Lydon becomes the Wrong Man...

Why he'd gone to jail in the first place has to do with cult actor Timothy Carey, who once again clenches his teeth while talking as yet another clenched-teeth lowlife... this one a victim of getting beat up for flirting with the otherwise nice guy's girlfriend (Tina Carver); the latter whining through the more melodramatic sequences as her man goes through accusations that seem impossible to clear: he'd fought with the husband right before the wife's lover finished the job. And while these kind of cuckold pot-boilers spend most of the time building a "perfect murder," the quick pull-off is a letdown for the audience yet allows main star Elliott a chance to wander around, ask a lot of questions and chain-smoke, like movie-cops do — providing scheming wife Polly Gunther a suburban femme fatale role that deserved a better platform; yet her input here makes EVIDENCE better than it would've been otherwise. 

Timothy Carey and Don Haggerty (Bill Elliott's partner St. Mike Duncan) in CHAIN OF EVIDENCE
Bill Elliott and Tina Carver (Lydon's girlfriend) in CHAIN OF EVIDENCE
Polly Gunther and lover Ross Elliott (no relation) in CHAIN OF EVIDENCE
Victim Hugh Sanders with Wrong Man Jimmy Lydon in CHAIN OF EVIDENCE
Timothy Carey and Bill Elliott in CHAIN OF EVIDENCE with Tina Carver & Don Haggerty

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