Jerry Devery

Created by John Dunkel

“You’re getting soft, Sylvester. I don’t think you broke more than a couple of bones.”
— Jerry mouths off to a thug who’s just put the hurt on him

In the solid little 1945 B-flick The Tiger Woman, private eye JERRY DEVERY (played as a fast-talking smoothie by Kane Richmond) is approached by sexy nightclub singer Sharon Winslow (Adele Mara) who wants him to try to dissuade Joe Sapphire, a gangster who runs a flower shop and a gambling joint, from bumping off her husband, Fred. It seems Fred, the co-owner of a nightspot called The Tiger Club (where Sharon sings), owes Joe some money.

Presumably not for some daffodils…

Hard-working Devery was all set to go on a fishing vacation up in the Catskills, but he postpones the trip and takes the job, amused by the premise. But things go sour when Sharon and Fred’s business partner, Steve Mason, discover her husband dead, an apparent suicide. Worried it might screw up the insurance claim, they destroy the suicide note. Of course, it doesn’t help that Sharon and Steve were having an affair.

What follows is a sampler platter of the usual: fakes, dodges, doublecrosses and frames. There are a few great characters that fly by way too fast (the whole thing plays out in less than an hour), but enough zippy patter to keep things moving. Richmond as the eye is appropriately square-jawed, and cracks wise enough, and Mara is easy enough on the eyes, but it’s no lost classic — just a no-frills B that holds together nicely. Which is always a nice surprise — so many of them don’t.

UNDER OATH

  • “I recently saw the film The Tiger Woman (1945) starring private eye Jerry Devery. Since this film is missing on your site I thought you might be interested to check it out. You can watch it here. I think it’s a little gem, maybe you’ll like it too.”
    — Sander de Voogt

TRIVIA

  • This was director Philip Ford’s first directing job. He was the nephew of legendary film director John Ford.

FILMS

  • THE TIGER WOMAN
    (1945, Republic)
    57 minutes
    Black & white
    Based on the radio play by John Dunkel
    Screenplay by George Carleton Brown
    Directed by Philip Ford
    Starring Adele Mara
    and Kane Richmond as JERRY DEVERY
    Also starring Richard Fraser, Gregory Gaye, Cy Kendall, Peggy Stewart, John Kelly, Addison Richards
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. and a special thanks to Sander de Voogt for the lead.

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