When self-confident attorney Bob Regan (Edmond O’Brien) is hired as a bodyguard to wealthy industrialist Andrew Colby (Vincent Price), he kills a mysterious intruder (Fritz Leiber Sr) on his first watch, who turns out to be a former employee who has just served time selling a fortune in forged T-bonds.
Though cleared of the murder, Regan has the distinct feeling that he’s been had. So, doing a little detective work and romancing Colby’s secretary (Ella Raines), he suddenly finds himself framed for a killing that he didn’t do…
Directed by B-movie director Michael Gordon and released on 25 May 1947, Universal’s The Web brought together a typically smug O’Brien, a sophisticated Raines, a sinister Price and a superlatively sarcastic Bendix (as the cop investigating everyone) for a film noir that’s more shadow and style than substance. While the plot has more holes than a non-bullet proof vest, the script (by My Favorite Spy‘s William Bowers and Sherlock Holmes in Washington‘s Bertram Millhauser) bristles with wit and banter.
Among the supporting players, a shifty John Abbot (aka Sesmar in Lost in Space’s The Dream Monster) and dependable Fritz Leiber (Phantom of the Opera) enjoy two of their juiciest roles, while Howard Chamberlain (High Noon), Wilton Graff (Compulsion) and Tito Vuolo (20 Millions Miles to Earth) lurk with gleeful intent. And its thanks to this blast of a cast makes The Web such a satisfying Saturday matinee treat.
The film was also adapted for radio as part of the Lux Radio Theater, which was broadcast on 29 September, 1947, with Raines, Price, and O’Brien reprising their roles.
Listen to it here:
In 1948, director Gordon made Another Part of the Forest, a sequel to the 1939’s The Little Foxes based on the Lillian Hellman novel, starring Frederic March and much of the support cast from The Web.
This was also adapted for the Lux Radio Theater, and had Vincent Price playing Ben Hubbard (played by Edmond O’Brien in the film) alongside Walter Huston and Anne Blythe. It was first broadcast on 13 September 1948.
Listen to it here: