Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Despite the slightly lurid title and the presence of the va-va-va-voom Mamie Van Doren, VICE RAID (1960), is about as average a crime film as you're ever likely to find. TCM ran several Van Doren films the other night and, on a whim, I recorded some of them. I watched VICE RAID the other day and I can't recommend it to anyone who's not a hardcore Van Doren fan.

Mamie Van Doren was a platinum blond Marilyn Monroe wanna-be who had a short film career in the 1950s and '60s. Van Doren was never a big star and she only played bit parts in the major films in which she appeared. When she was a headliner, as in VICE RAID, the results were watchable but far from spectacular. In fact, the most spectacular thing (or things) about VICE RAID is Van Doren herself (if you know what I mean and I think you do).

In the film, organized crime boss Brad Dexter (who was, as you'll recall, one of the Magnificent Seven and if you don't remember that factoid, please go back and read my blog post on that film) uses "model" (that's code for prostitute) Van Doren to frame vice detective Richard Coogan. As a result of the set-up, Coogan is fired from the force. He swears vengeance against the racket and Van Doren eventually comes to his aid after her sister is brutally assaulted and raped by Dexter's right-hand man, Barry Atwater (he played the Las Vegas vampire in the classic made-for-television film THE NIGHT STALKER). Coogan and Van Doren work with the police to get the goods on Dexter and the mob, Coogan gets his job back on the force and Van Doren and her kid sister leave the big city to return to their small hometown. The end.

Interior scenes in VICE RAID appear to have been shot on only a couple of re-dressed sets and the exteriors were all filmed on the back lot. The cast is okay and they do their best with what they're given to work with which isn't much. VICE RAID isn't dark enough to be a noir and it's not so-bad-it's-good to be a cult film. It's a passable, routine crime film worth seeing for only one reason.

 Make that two reasons.

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