Ahh, another classic movie from the Legends of Horror box set that is in no way a horror movie but stars an actor well known for being in one. I find it a little funny that yesterday’s movie starred Bela Lugosi and today’s stars Lon Chaney Jr. Too bad tomorrow’s movie doesn’t star Boris Karloff or I would have had the classic monster trifecta going for me. Anyway’s This is yet another movie I never heard of but it sounds pretty interesting from the description. Let’s see what I am getting into with today’s movie, The Shadow Of Silk Lennox.
The plot: John Arthur Lennox is the owner of a nightclub but also serves as the leader of an underworld gang of crooks, who call him Silk due to his constantly saying “things are fine as silk.” Silk plans a bank heist to occur, while securing his gang’s alibi by inviting some cops over to the club and having a recording play to make it seem like the gang is there. After sending the three men off to do the heist, Silk heads downstairs to look over the club until he gets word that the police are on their way. Downstairs, Silk’s new singer, Jimmy Lambert, is telling his dance partner Nola that their number is coming up and when Nola says she doesn’t like what Silk is having Jimmy do, he tells her that they wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for Silk so he felt obligated to help him. When the two inspectors arrive, Jimmy calls Silk and plays the recording of his gang members, which Silk puts on the loudspeaker so that the police can hear them. At the same time, Silk’s gang holds up the bank and successfully make their getaway, with Dutch, the man holding the money, switching cars so that the police can’t catch them. The next day, the police are frustrated because they know that Silk’s gang was behind the robbery but nobody will come forward as a witness and the even though they heard the gang speaking over the phone, they can’t prove that they were actually there and a jury would believe the alibi. Back at the club, the rest of the gang arrives but when Dutch doesn’t show up, he has one of his men find and follow Dutch and report back where he is going. When they find him, Silk’s men force him into a bathroom, forcing the attendant and occupant into the nearby stalls. When Silk enters, Dutch protests his innocence but when they don’t find the money on him, Silk has Dutch killed. When the police arrive and try to get into the restroom, Silk shoots into the door to keep the police outside while he and his men slip out the window. As they meet at the club, Silk questions the man who followed Dutch and he tells him that Dutch had gone into the Interstate Express office and that the money was inside the safe there. Silk says the money is safe for now and they will get it later. Meanwhile, Jimmy is upset when he learns about the robbery and questions Silk about it but Silk tells him to keep quiet. Jimmy talks to Nola about it and she says they have the recording and she plans to keep it and threaten to turn it over to the police if anything happens to them. Unknown to them, a mystery person was searching Silk’s office and overheard their conversation over the intercom and sneaks down and takes the record. Silk is picked up by the police and taken down to the station in connection to Dutch’s murder. As he is placed in a line-up, he meets a man named “Fingers” Farley and after they are both released when the witnesses refuse to identify Silk, Silk invites Fingers back to his club. At the club, Silk asks Fingers about being able to crack the safe at the express office and Fingers says he can do it. Some of the gang are concerned about Jimmy spilling the beans but Silk tells them not to worry. After his set, Jimmy hears about Silk harassing and kissing Nola and he heads into Silk’s office and punches him before he is quickly restrained. Nola comes in and pleads for Jimmy’s life so Silk tells Fingers to take Jimmy for a ride, then tells Nola she will get him back when he gets the recording. When Fingers returns, Silk takes Nola with him as they all head out to crack open the safe. Fingers works on opening the safe but when it opens, cops come pouring out and a shootout occurs and Silk ends up being killed. Later at the station, the police thank the feds for their help in handling Silk and their leader says to thank Ferguson, who had been undercover as Fingers. Nola and Jimmy are reunited and thank Ferguson for helping them before leaving, while Ferguson asks about his next assignment.
This was actually a pretty decent movie, story wise at least. Lon Chaney Jr. did a good job playing mob boss Silk Lennox, while several of the other actors did good in their roles as well. The basic plot was pretty good but the story was a little confusing at times. I honestly think the short length of the film actually hurt it some as it could have been a better movie with some more time added to it to pan out some of the minor details. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects outside of some driving scenes that didn’t look that good, while the one real fight scene was the shootout at the office and it looked pretty ridiculous, with some of the deaths being too over dramatic at times. The film quality was pretty bad in the copy used in this set, with a lot of lines running through it at times. Not the worst movie but there was some definite room for improvement.
Rating: 2 out of 5