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>
In the courtroom scene we see the pen of a court reporter transcribing the trial in shorthand. The date under the criminal court letterhead is August 6, 1943. This may be coincidental or an inside reference to the birthday of Ella Raines, August 6, 1920. See more »
During the theatre visit, near the beginning of the film (c.5 minutes), we hear a loud and isolated cymbal crash but the percussionist/kit player does not move at all at this point. It is inconceivable that a pit orchestra would employ a second percussion player and the plot-reason for this isolated cymbal crash is clearly that the drummer (Cliff) is distracted by the "Phantom Lady" in the audience. See more »
Top-notch "B" Noir thriller will leave you guessing
Seldom have my expectations been as often derailed as in The Phantom Lady. The plot--while a bit farfetched--is never boring or predictable. Although it's a smaller film than say, The Maltese Falcon or The Big Sleep, it is immensely satisfying.
Ella Raines is the real stand-out here. Not only is she great to look at (think half-way between Veronica Lake and Lauren Bacall) she also acts circles 'round the two leading men. Luminous, expressive yet subtle, she is perhaps a better actress than those two icons, if slightly less perfect-looking than Lake and a bit less magnetic than Bacall.
Thomas Gomez turns in a surprisingly complex and interesting performance, but don't expect too much from Franchot Tone. Although his acting abilities need no defense, he didn't do much with this role.
Sure, there are plot holes, a couple of contrived turns, and at least two ridiculous performances (Elisha Cook and Aurora Miranda) but all B Noir has its faults, and this one wins by dint of its unpredictability and pacing, and some great cinematography. Oh--and miss Raines.
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