The first thing about mystery novels is its constant reference to itself. The mockery of detective fiction techniques is on full blast with Robert Downey Jr.’s display of Sherlock Holmes. The man is obsessed with logic and finds himself falling out of reality and through the fantastical mystery with Sir Blackwood does he finally get back on his feet and tackle the unexplainable with confidence.


HUNT THE MAN DOWN is a routine little noir of slightly more than an hour in length but rich in its characterizations so not a total waste of time. It’s a strange combination of CALL NORTHSIDE 777 and Chandler’s Farewell My Lovely, which was filmed as MURDER MY SWEET. A short order cook in a one arm joint thwarts an armed robber and his photo in the paper reveals him to be an escaped murderer who escaped his trial 12 years previously just before the verdict was to be read. Now if you ignore the plot hole that a man wanted and nearly convicted of murder and facing the gas chamber would stick around Los Angeles you can watch him as he passively is re-arrested. He draws Gig Young as his public defender who, though initially skeptical of his client’s innocence, goes about proving it.


There is absolutely no reason to see NO LEAVE, NO LOVE. It’s not really awful, or terrible, just a lot of milling about to little effect. Just another routine offering that aimed at mindless entertainment and failed. It is of some historical importance however as it represents the fault line between wartime entertainment and post-war films.