"Chicago Deadline" is a picture with a Twist. It's not an O. Henry twist, either, because you can see it coming from about the second sequence, and apparently the audience is supposed to see it. Alan Ladd, it seems, is in love with a girl who dies before he sees her for the first time.
The Twist is not what recommends "Chicago Deadline." Neither is Alan Ladd, nor, for that matter, Donna Reed, both of whom are starred in the film. What the picture does offer is a good plot with plenty of suspense, and, in due course, lots of action.
Alan Ladd plays a reporter who happens to be in a boarding house when a beautiful young woman is discovered dead there. He is struck by her beauty, and makes off with her address book before the usual cluck D. A. arrives. Using the address book, Ladd sniffs around trying to find something about the girl's family, friends, and past. In the course of this snooping, he bumps into a goodly number of unsavory characters, as well as a couple who are mildly savory.
"Chicago Deadline" has flashbacks galore, in which we see the girl, played by Miss Reed, as Life strikes her one blow after another. She gets mixed up with gangsters and a corrupt bank president, until she finally meets her untimely end in the fly-blown rooming house where reporter Ladd first sees her.
June Havoc is surprisingly good as the dead girl's showgirl friend; Alan Ladd and Donna Reed are unsurprisingly mediocre, but no one would go to the movies to see them, anyhow. "Chicago Deadline" is not the sort of picture you'd go out of your way to see; but once inside, you won't walk out, either.