Gotham College professor Wanley and his friends become obsessed with the portrait of a woman in the window next to the men's club. Wanley happens to meet the woman while admiring her portrait, and ends up in her apartment for talk and a bit of champagne. Her boyfriend bursts in and misinterprets Wanley's presence, whereupon a scuffle ensues and the boyfriend gets killed. In order to protect his reputation, the professor agrees to dump the body and help cover up the killing, but becomes increasingly suspect as the police uncover more and more clues and a blackmailer begins leaning on the woman. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
When Claude Mazard hits Alice in the face, his hand clearly does not actually hit her, yet she reacts to it. See more »
The Biblical injunction "Thou shalt not kill" is one that requires qualification in view of our broader knowledge of impulses behind homicide. The various legal categories such as first and second degree murder, the various degrees of homicide, manslaughter, are civilized recognitions of impulses of various degrees of culpability. The man who kills in self defense, for instance, must not be judged by the same standards applied to the man who kills for gain.
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Following a chance meeting with a beautiful young woman, a forty-something professor unwittingly becomes involved in murder and blackmail while his family is away on vacation. Robinson is wonderful as always as the professor who is in over his head because of a moment's indiscretion. Bennett looks stunningly beautiful as the kind of woman who can lead any man astray. Duryea is appropriately slimy as a blackmailer. Lang is at the top of his form in this atmospheric and efficiently made film noir. Some feel cheated by the ending but it is actually quite clever. Interestingly enough, Lang reunited with Robinson, Bennett, and Duryea in his next film, "Scarlet Street."
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