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During the dark days of World War II, young Mary Tillet is bombed out of her home and forced to seek lodgings upstairs from a tobacconist. Her kindly but mysterious landlord, Jack Rawlings, attempts to transform the empty, web-strewn apartment into a home. After reading newspaper accounts of the "London Blackout Murders," Mary is plagued by dread. Is her landlord a hero, or a sinister assassin? Taken as a period piece, the movie is a gem that briskly portrays the effects of wartime shortages, women in the workplace, and the moral ambiguity inherent in life-or-death situations. Written by
plot summary by floodmouse
Bland, boring and rather predictable "mystery" from Republic set during London as WWII is at full steam. The people are terrified about the bombs dropping from the air but they've also got to worry about murders happening in the streets by a nut with a hypodermic needle. It turns out the killer is a store owner (John Abbott) who is considered one of the nicest men around so it's not who is doing the crimes but why. When you watch a Republic film you know very well not to expect anything overly special. At best you hope for a slightly entertaining film but sadly that's not the case with this thing, which even at 55-minutes seems way too long and pointless. The film tries to be clever and there are a few nice touches but in the end there's just not enough going on with this thing to make it worth viewing. Some of the interesting aspects is having it set during the war with the people of London having to deal with the air raids. This also leads to a couple nice scenes showing the women in the factories working while the men are off fighting in the war. This was something that was happening and it's rather shocking that so few movies mention it. We even get some talk of Jack the Ripper but outside of this stuff London BLACKOUT MURDERS is very flat. The entire reasons as to why this nice man is killing people should be obvious within the first few minutes of the film so when the big twist happens it comes way too late. Abbott is a fine actor and does what he can with the role but even he can't work miracles. Mary McLeod plays the woman renting a room from him but she can't add much either. The final courtroom stuff is rather embarrassing so needless to say there's not really any reason to check this one out. Universal horror vet Curt Siodmak wrote the screenplay.
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