An artist married to a wealthy but ill woman begins an affair with one of his models, who is after him solely for his money. His wife discovers the affair and threatens to cut him out of ... See full summary »
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Olivia de Havilland,
An artist married to a wealthy but ill woman begins an affair with one of his models, who is after him solely for his money. His wife discovers the affair and threatens to cut him out of her will. In order to be able to keep both the wife's money and his girlfriend, he begins to secretly poison his wife - but events take a surprising turn after she eventually dies. Written by
This was the second to last film Richard Dix made in the Whistler series. The mysterious Whistler is seen as a shadow and heard in
voice-over narration, but the "star" of the films is Richard Dix, who plays a different role in each--some heroic, some cowardly, some honorable, some not so honorable. This must have been satisfying to Dix, since it gave him regular work AND allowed him to show his talent in a wide variety of roles. This particular entry gives Dix a complex role, as an artist married to a rich woman whose financial support allows him to continue his work. The plot is more complex than the synopsis suggests, and there are a number of twists and turns throughout, giving the film the feel of an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The "femme fatale" in this film is played by Leslie Brooks, who took this kind of role even further in the great BLONDE ICE two years later. Director George Sherman did a lot of exciting films at Republic prior to this film at Columbia, including many entries in the Three Mesquiteers series, and went on to do many more films, including episodes of such classic TV shows as Rawhide and Naked City. The centerpiece of the film, though, is Richard Dix, an actor of great presence (it's fair to say that Gary Cooper was influenced by Dix)and subtlety. SECRET OF THE WHISTLER would be a good introduction to this series, and it should appeal to any fan of INNER SANCTUM, THRILLER, ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, etc. Most of the other films in the series are worth checking out also. Perhaps sometime in the future Columbia could do a DVD boxset of the Whistler films the way Universal is doing the Francis and Ma&Pa Kettle films? And after that, perhaps they could reissue the Boston Blackie films?
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