Problems in Putney
John Harman (George Brent) is the manager of an Oxford Street bookstore where Ruby Bruce (Diana Dors), an attractive young clerk, works and is often late. One evening after everyone has left other than Ruby, John makes a mistake of kissing her which he immediately feels guilty about. And he feels even guiltier when Ruby's boyfriend, Jeff (Peter Reynolds), convinces her to blackmail him in order to keep her silence. When John won't give in to her demands Jeff has Ruby write a letter to his ill wife which in turn causes her death via a heart attack and in turn causes John to pay up. But when Jeff discovers that Ruby has kept part of the money for herself he murders her and after John finds her body fears he will be the main suspect causing him to turn fugitive.
I have said many times that the use of the term film-noir is often over used and at time seems to be used in conjunction with ever black & white thriller. I have seen it used in relation to "Man Bait" and whilst some might agree with its use I see this movie more as one of those chain of event thrillers. It starts with Ruby being reprimanded for being late; it leads to a kiss, an attempt at black mail and all these events lead to another one with John Hartman eventually on the run fearing he will be the main suspect when Ruby is found murdered. And it is nicely put together but is nothing special with this feeling like a low budget production, made with a few locations and a handful of actors.
In many ways it is the quality of the acting which helps to make "Man Bait" an interesting movie with a youthful Diana Dors doing a nice job of playing Ruby as a mix of innocent but also devious. There is also Marguerite Chapman who brings a touch of Hollywood style glamour to her role as John's loyal assistant and friend whilst Peter Reynolds is both charming and dangerous as Jeff. But whilst the acting certainly lifts "Man Bait" it isn't anything special just decent.
What this all boils down to is that "Man Bait" is one of those old movies which will most likely interest those who recognize the filming locations and have an interest in one of the cast. But this isn't one of those thrillers which will really grab your attention as it is a movie which features a change of events rather than a mystery.