Producer Edward Small has taken a closed case out of the Treasury Dept files, reenacted it in documentary fashion, and the result is T-Men – an entertaining action film. March-of-Time technique in the early reels flavors the footage with pungent realism that builds up to a suspenseful finish at the final fadeout.
Location scenes in Detroit, Los Angeles and several of its beach suburbs, may have cost a little more but the effect they achieve in verity can’t be denied.
Preceded by a brief foreword delivered by a Treasury official, plot [suggested by a story by Virginia Kellogg] unfolds at a slow pace in its early stages. Later, however, it’s obvious why the opening scenes were so carefully and meticulously outlined. Solution of every crime depends upon the most minute clues. When assembled in the proper sequence there’s a crashing denouement. And so it is with T-Men. The final reel is a corker.
Dennis O’Keefe’s characterization of the Treasury agent is finely drawn. He’s almost Jimmy Cagneyish at times. Cast as his partner is Alfred Ryder. They’re undercover agents assigned to break the ‘Shanghai Paper Case’. Masquerading as mobsters they join a ring of liquor cutters in Detroit who are known to be using phony revenue stamps.
1947: Nomination: Best Sound