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 <email@example.com>
Although Franchot Tone is given top billing in this film, he does not appear for the first 45 minutes. 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 »
This is a very unusual film in that the star with the top billing doesn't appear literally until half way in. Nevertheless I was engaged by the hook of the Phantom Lady. Curtis, though competent as the falsely accused Scott Henderson, looks a little tough to be be sympathetic towards (perhaps he should have shaved his moustache) and his behavior when he first comes home should have convinced the cops at least to some degree of his innocence. While another commentator had a problem with Franchot Tone as Jack Marlowe I found his portrayal of the character to be impressively complex. He is no stock villain. Superb character actor Elisha Cook Jr. is again in top form as the 'little man with big ambitions.' His drumming in the musical numbers added a welcome touch of eroticism. This movie however is carried by the very capable and comely Ella Raines as the devoted would be lover of Henderson, Carol Richmond. She definitely has talent and her screen presence is in the tradition of Lauren Bacall. This is the first of her work I have seen and I am definitely inclined to see her other roles. The rest of the supporting cast is also more than competent. All in all a very satisfying film noir mystery which when viewed today fully conveys the dark and complex urban world it is intended to. Recommended, 8/10.
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