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Take One False Step Reviews

This is an unusual blend of comedy and violence that combines nicely the different genres' elements. Powell, ever the debonair gentleman, plays a college professor whose sedate life with spouse Hart is given a sudden jolt when his old girl friend, Winters, re-enters his life. He agrees to meet her for dinner to talk over old times. After their date Winters mysteriously disappears and all evidence points towards murder. Powell has been trying to get a prim and proper philanthropist to donate a sizable amount of cash to his school and knows any link with a murder case will dash whatever hopes he has for the endowment. Before the police learn that Powell had been with Winters, the teacher decides to begin an investigation of his own, following the trail from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Here the story takes some violent turns as Powell encounters a vicious police dog, as well as witnesses a man crushed by the wheels of a train. Powell's encounters with some rather shady characters, as well as his growing fear of rabies as a result of his dog bite, only add to the terrifying aspects of the story. Starting off as a light comedy, the film takes several surprising twists, changing the very nature of the story with sudden and shocking impact. Though not as engaging a mystery as any of Powell's "Thin Man" films, the picture holds its own with the odd combination of laughs and thrills. At the time of this film's production Winters was studying Shakespeare under the tutelage of Charles Laughton. One day she was awakened from her usual lunch-hour nap and summoned to the offices of William Goetz, a studio executive. In her book Shelley Also Known As Shirley, Winters recalled the incident: "Mr. Goetz informed me that the cameraman was complaining that I had rings under my eyes that even makeup and special lighting could not completely wipe out...`you've just got to get some sleep. We've got lots of money invested in you, and we're building your career' Goetz was quoted as saying. I explained that I was studying Shakespeare...every night in order to train myself to become a better actress. There was a long pause while he stared at me in disbelief. Finally, he said, `We don't do much Shakespeare out here at the Valley lot, so you sleep at night, you hear me?"'