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Shortly before she is to be married, a young woman gets a visit from her fiance's wife, who had been missing for seven years and presumed dead. Soon both the girl and her fiance find themselves mixed up with a crooked nightclub owner, gangsters and murder. Written by
Mary Beth Hughes tries to clear Hugh Beaumont of suspicion for murder
"The Lady Confesses" (1945) is a fine and relatively early b-noir that employs deeply shadowed photography throughout. The story itself is a murder mystery. As a sociopath, the murderer covers a lack of morality with seeming normality and friendliness. This reveals nothing to you since no one in the film, murderer or not, acts like a madman. No one provides obvious clues to being a murderer. Not until the 49 minute mark do we see who the murderer is.
The story does indeed contain a lady who confesses to the police, but her note fails to get to its destination and it's too late to save her from being killed.
The cast uniformly puts across the story in a convincing way that holds our attention, and the story has enough complexity to keep us engaged too. Leading the cast is Mary Beth Hughes, who is about to be married to Hugh Beaumont when his first wife (Barbara Slater) suddenly appears after a 7-year absence and vows to prevent the marriage. When Slater is murdered, police detective Emmett Vogan investigates Hughes and Beaumont who both have reasonably tight alibis, although not perfect. Club owner Edmund MacDonald comes under suspicion because of a conflict of his statement with Beaumont's and what we see on screen. MacDonald went out from the club and later returned to the club, as seen by Beaumont and us. MacDonald had a past business arrangement with Slater. In addition, Beaumont had a conversation with MacDonald (seen by us) that the latter denies. Complicating matters further is the club's singer, Claudia Drake. She waves a gun at MacDonald for dumping her, and she has vouched for the drunk Beaumont whom she put to sleep on her dressing room couch the night of Slater's murder. Mary Beth Hughes goes undercover at the club, seeking to remove all suspicion of Beaumont and perhaps get the goods on MacDonald.
I've seen this movie three times. It gets better each time.
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