Monday, August 10, 2009

Quantitative easing

This afternoon at 2:00 PM, the Fox Movie Channel is showing the interesting little movie Mister 880.

Burt Lancaster stars as a Secret Service agent who investigates cases of quantitative easing. (Er, it's only called that when the government does it. When you or I do it, it's called counterfeiting.) There's a case in New York that's been driving everybody nuts because nobody's been able to solve it: Case #880, leading he authorities to refer to the counterfeiter as Mr. 880.

So, Lancaster heads off to the latest place where the mysterious Mr. 880 is alleged to have passed a bad $1 bill. (Yes, the guy is faking singles, not Benjamins. This is 1950, when a dollar would buy quite a bit more than it does today.) The first person involved is Dorothy McGuire, a translator at the United Nations, who is discovered in fairly short order to be innocent, although not in short enough order for the two to develop a romantic attraction for each other. This romantic attraction is not a bad thing, because it gives Lancaster a pretense to be around the neighborhood, especially when it begins to seem as though Mr. 880 is her kindly old neighbor, played by Santa Claus (er, that's actually Edmund Gwenn, but one wonders how Santa Claus got the resources to make all those gifts).

Mister 880 is one of those Fox movies from the late 1940s and early 1950s which were told in a docudrama style. They all seem to have been done on fairly small budgets, but are all very competently made and pretty good. Unfortunately, Mister 880 doesn't seem to have ben released to DVD, so you're going to have to catch it on the Fox Movie Channel.

No comments: