Created by Raoul Whitfield
— Slade’s reply to almost everything.
In High Tide, a rarely seen but highly recommended little 1947 B noir from Monogram, Lee Tracy plays gruff, crusading Los Angeles tabloid newspaper editor Hugh Fresney and Don Castle plays TIM “T.M.” SLADE, a former reporter who’s become a private eye.
When Fresney, aiming to run a big exposé on a gambling syndicate boss starts to fear for his life, he hires Slade to protect him.
But when a crash sends the two men hurtling over a seaside cliff on the road from Malibu, leaving them trapped and injured inside their car. As the tide rolls in, Fresney decides to come clean, and give Slade the whole story.
It’s a great framing gimmick (one not featured in the original short story), and most of the flick unfolds in flashback. There are plenty of shadows, plenty of twists (including a double-cross that’s epic), a cast full of suspicious characters (including an alcoholic widow) and plenty of tough, terse dialogue; no doubt in part due to the source — it’s all based on a classic short story, “Inside Job” by pulp master Raoul Whitfield, which initially was published in Black Mask, and was selected by Joseph T. “Cap” Shaw for his almost legendary collection, The Hard-Boiled Omnibus (1946).
Unfortunately, the film was impossible to find for years. But in 2022, it was resurrected in 35mm, thanks to the combined efforts of The Film Noir Foundation, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, and The British Film Institute. I’m looking forward to seeing it again, this time with all the scenes intact–the version I saw years ago on a dubious streaming channel was an incomprehensible morass of darkness and missing scenes, possibly a late, late show recorded circa 1986 in a Nevada motel room with a rented VHS videocam. At one point, a toilet flushed, and there might have been an ice machine right outside the door.
- “Inside Job” (February 1932, Black Mask)
- HIGH TIDE | Buy the DVD/Blu-Ray
Black & white
Based on a short story “Inside Job” by Raoul Whitfield
Screenplay by Robert Presnell Sr.
Additional dialogue by Peter Milne
Directed by John Reinhardt
Starring Lee Tracy as Hugh Fresney
and Don Castle as TIM “T.M.” SLADE
Also starring Julie Bishop, Anabel Shaw, Douglas Walton, Regis Toomey, Francis Ford , Anthony Warde, Argentina Brunetti, Wilson Wood, George Ryland