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A writer, looking for some peace and quiet in order to finish a novel, takes a room at the Baldpate Inn. Peace and quiet are last things he gets, though, as there are some very strange things going on at the establishment.
The City of Chicago is gripped by an Axe Murderer. The streets are empty at night as there has been six murders and six people have been caught, but they are lunatics. Only one person has lived to tell about it and that was Edwina, who is as dumb as a brick. If it were not for Oliver, she would be number seven. When there is a second attempt on Edwina, Oliver figures that the crimes are not random and that someone is hypnotizing these people to do his bidding, but the police and Edwina are skeptical. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Lew Ayres changed his military status from "conscientious-objector" to "non-combatant" in April 1942 causing great consternation at M-G-M, which already reshot the "Dr Kildare" film he had just completed, removing him from the cast completely. By the time this film was released, the furor had died down and it opened without incident. In fact, one reviewer noted the business was brisk, possibly because of Ayres' honesty and courage in jeapardizing his movie career for the sake of his principles. See more »
Any story about an axe murderer on the loose has to be taken seriously--and this one is no exception, especially since it is given some film noir ambience in lighting, sets and photography--and has Basil Rathbone as the master mind of all the villainy.
Laraine Day and Lew Ayres (usually cast in the Dr. Kildare series) are the stars of this well made B-film that played the lower half of double-bills when released in 1942. They both move capably through a story that mixes romance, humor and suspense--although much of what happens stretches credibility a bit. Attempts on Laraine Day's life provide a few genuine thrills in this somewhat creepy tale about an actor (Lew Ayres) and a society girl (Day) on the trail of a serial killer being masterminded by sinister Basil Rathbone who uses hypnotism to carry out his plans.
Although a minor mystery, it has some chilling moments thanks to the intensity of Rathbone's acting and some atmospheric night scenes with the heroine being menaced and stalked on rainy streets by a killer.
This is just one of the films discussed in my career article on LARAINE DAY that appears in the current Spring 2001 issue of FILMS OF THE GOLDEN AGE.
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