Now available on demand from Warner Archive is Kid Glove Killer, a well-made B-picture in the crime genre that had a good fresh hook for 1942. The trailer, included as a bonus, trumpets “something new” out of the mass of common mysteries. That new thing was what we call forensics, the scientific investigation of evidence while the police around him are standard conclusion-jumping hard-boiled flatfoots ready to sweat a confession out of innocent mugs.
The hero is advertised on the poster and the trailer as “Police Chemist Gordon McKay” (Van Heflin), as if introducing a new series character, though this is the only adventure that materialized. He comes across like a flip, semi-cantankerous Sherlock Holmes with microscopes and cameras and projectors, who’s ready to make like Mr. Wizard in explaining his procedural gizmos. He’s supposedly human by the way he baits his almost equally jaded assistant Jane Mitchell (Marsha Hunt), who embodies America’s wartime schizophrenia about women in the workplace. She must be smart and competent (and pretty), but she must also aver that she “hates chemistry”,and that it’s “no job for a woman” who’s only marking time to fulfill her destiny with a husband.