Brad and Ellie
Friday, May 29, 2015
ELLIE KENT in "Twenty Plus One" (1961)
I caught Twenty a Plus One, a muddled crime drama starring David Janssen and Dina Merrill (Jeanne Crain got co-star billing to Janssen but has very little to do) on Warner Instant last night. Referred to today as a film noir (and what crime drama from the period isn't?), this particular melodrama benefits highly from the aforementioned stars, both of whom were "Cool" with a capital "c," a Sydney Greenstreet-like turn by the forgotten Jacques Aubuchon, and the customarily sleazy appearance by Brad Dexter, who couldn't have given a bad performance had he tried. Dexter played a Hollywood star with a secret and is in one scene set in a jazzy nightclub interrupted by a blonde who apparently wished to consume him right then and there. I was intrigued. The IMDb listed the lady as Ellie Kent, a new name even for me, who lives for the obscure. A little research reveals that Miss Kent, who Louella Parsons claimed had arrived in Hollywood from the Great White Way although I have failed to uncover any Broadway credit under the name, married producer Jonie Taps (1908-1997). She appears to have met Taps while strutting her stuff ever so briefly in the crime drama The Shadow on the Window (1957) about thrill killing juvenile delinquents, one of whom is John Drew Barrymore. Miss Kent later divorced her producer husband and disappeared from show business.