In 1902 London, unhappily married Philip Marshall meets young Mary Gray, who is unemployed and depressed. Their deepening friendship, though physically innocent, is discovered by Philip's ... See full summary »
A man is found murdered, with witnesses convinced about the woman they saw leaving his apartment. However, it becomes apparent that the woman has a twin, and finding out which one is the killer seems impossible.
Olivia de Havilland,
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Thelma Jordon is in love with a jewel thief, Tony Laredo, and he persuades her to go live with her rich aunt, and steal her jewels. During the robbery, she shoots her formerly-rich aunt, ... See full summary »
Unhappily married Scott Henderson spends the evening on a no-name basis with a hat-wearing woman he picked up in a bar. Returning home, he finds his wife strangled and becomes the prime suspect in her murder. Every effort to establish his alibi fails; oddly no one seems to remember seeing the phantom lady (or her hat). In prison, Scott gives up hope but his faithful secretary, "Kansas," doggedly follows evanescent clues through shadowy nocturnal streets. Can she save Scott in time? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Scott Henderson (Alan Curtis) is unjustly accused of killing his unfaithful wife. The night she was murdered he was out with a mystery woman who refused to give him her name. After accused of the murder, the police visit all the places he had been with her, but people only remember him being alone. He's sentenced to die and his secretary (Ella Raines) sets out to find the murderer herself because she loves him.
This was made as a B film from Universal (look at the cast--all character actors and one star--Franchot Tone--on the decline). The budget was small and the cast mostly unknown but what came out is one of the best film noirs of the 1940s. It's beautifully directed by Curt Siodmak and has a fantastic script that came from an excellent book by William Irish (a pen name for Cornell Woolrich). It moves quickly and just looks fantastic. And there's the infamous jam session with Raines and Elisha Cook Jr. which just comes off the screen with incredible sexual energy (I'm surprised the censors didn't cut it).
There are only a few flaws that prevent this from being perfect. Tone gives a dreadful performance. He looks ghastly and he's just horrible. Also Curtis is stiff and bland as Henderson. You really wonder why Raines loves him--he's so unemotional. But Raines is pretty good in the lead role. She's pretty and full of life. Also the last scene when the murderer is after her never rings true. He's hardly a threat physically and her reactions just seem overstated.
Still I'm giving this a 9. A really great film--flaws aside.
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