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The Fatal Witness (1945)

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The young John Bedford fights with his wealthy old aunt Lady Elizabeth Ferguson. She is sure John stole her emerald brooch. The next morning Lady Elizabeth is found murdered. Scotland Yard ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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The spirit of an executed murderer enters the body of a physician, and forces him to do its bidding--namely, murder.

Director: John English
Stars: Richard Arlen, Stanley Ridges, Lynne Roberts


Complete credited cast:
Evelyn Ankers ...
Priscilla Ames
Richard Fraser ...
Inspector William 'Bill' Trent
George Leigh ...
John Bedford
Barbara Everest ...
Lady Elizabeth Ferguson / Vera Cavanaugh
Barry Bernard ...
Frederick Worlock ...
Sir Humphrey Mong
Virginia Farmer ...
Martha, the maid
Colin Campbell ...
Sir Malcolm Hewitt
Crauford Kent ...
Jepson, the butler
Peggy Jackson ...
Gracie Hallet
Elaine Lange ...
Tillie - pub waitress
Harry Cording ...
Gus, pubkeeper
Boyd Irwin ...
Randall - the Tailor


The young John Bedford fights with his wealthy old aunt Lady Elizabeth Ferguson. She is sure John stole her emerald brooch. The next morning Lady Elizabeth is found murdered. Scotland Yard inspector William 'Bill' Trent is on the case and he thinks her nephew was behind it. However, it turns out John was in jail all night because of public drunkenness. Written by Robert

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Release Date:

15 September 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Testemunha Fatal  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

A mix of great moments and effects and some dull tricks...
14 August 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Fatal Witness (1945)

A Republic Pictures low budget flick, and it shows, even with the opening music which is a strain. However (and this is always the case with a B-movie that has survived the years and made it to Netflix), there are some interesting aspects here, and like most of them it is blessedly short.

One of the nice things here is the standard hook--there's a murder afoot, and we are in on the guessing and analyzing as we go. The acting is decent, the filming straight forward if unexciting. It's a British affair unofficially (officially both the director is American and of course Republic is, too), and like many Brit films, it talks a lot (replacing action with chitcat). But it's not stupid, and you might enjoy poking along with it. It is set in London and Scotland Yard gets to work investigating the death of the old aunt with all her supposed wealth.

The leading suspect is the nephew of the deceased, and he is a sparkle in this musty cast--George Leigh, who only did a handful of films and is a bit affected, but he adds life to the whole thing. As does the maid, and the leading lady, Evelyn Ankers, a Chilean born British actress with the standard convincing credentials (but without anything remarkable about her). Ankers is famous for her roles in many horror films, including the original "Wolf Man" a few years before.

In all, the plot thickens and there is not only murder but blackmail, and London fog, and a decent policeman who is after the leading lady as much as the criminal. Unfortunately he seems to know things too easily. And there is an efficiency to the events that isn't quite dramatic or convincing enough. It is frankly a B-movie through and through. And it has a crazy twist of an ending, sort of worth it just for the trick of it.

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