Except for the chance to see Cesar Romero in a role other than The Joker, there is little reason to check out “Shadow Man.” This 1953 British drama, originally called “Street of Shadows” on the far side of the Atlantic, finds Romero as Luigi, the owner of a strange London establishment that’s half-saloon, half-gaming arcade and wholly corrupt. Luigi somehow gets mixed up with a society gal (Kay Kendall) who is married to a ringleader of an upper crust gambling circle. Luigi’s crippled sidekick, given the decidedly un-PC nickname Limpy (Victor Maddern), causes his own problems when his obsession with a naughty hooker (Simone Silva) turns homicidal.
This low-budget feature is included in a DVD set called “Forgotten Noir,” and it is obvious why this one has been forgotten for so long. The film is thoroughly lacking in personality, mystery or purpose; its enervated pacing is so lethargic that even the cast appears to be falling asleep on camera.
Romero, enjoying a relatively rare leading man role (he was usually cast as the second lead in his pre-“Batman” career), spends a lot of time smoking cigarettes and looking mildly annoyed at his surroundings. Kendall, one of the most beautiful women in British cinema, wears chic evening gowns and a bored expression. Only supporting performers Bill Travers as a nasty playboy and Molly Hamley-Gifford as a fainting fortune teller register any hiccups of emotion in what could otherwise be dismissed as a motionless motion picture.