Actor Ken Farrell is suspected of murdering several agents he's tangled with
"Heartaches" features a famous song by the same name, first published in 1931. "Heartaches" (1947) the movie opens with a very nice, narrated, few minutes about Hollywood, showing many of its attractions of that time. Great fun. This opening ends up inside Grauman's Chinese Theater where we see a fictional preview of a fictional movie named "Heartaches" produced by a fictional "Majestic Studios" starring the character named Vic Morton (played by Ken Farrell) in the actual movie we are watching. This preview has him singing to an uncredited and very beautiful Terry Moore, who does not appear in the real "Heartaches". Got that? It's a bit mind-boggling but also pleasurable to have one's experience of watching a fictional movie have that movie make it seem that its fictional character (Vic Morton) is real and the star of a movie with the same name.
This device brings out the unique character of watching any movie, which is its illusion of reality, when the only realities are that the movie was made and we are watching what was made. This movie then transitions to this fictional Majestic Studios where Farrell (playing Morton) is making his second picture, the first having been that other "Heartaches" which was a big hit and featured his singing. He's rehearsing a song, and we see that he's lip-synching it and that Chill Wills is the vocalist. Sheila Ryan is present too. Now get this. Chill Wills actually did sing, but he had a bass voice, not the tenor and unaccented voice we hear. This means that when we see Wills "singing", in reality he was lip-synching! When we see them both singing in this scene, they are both lip-synching but we are being made to think that only Farrell is. It's hard to believe because Wills's actual voice is nothing like the singing voice we hear.
Ed Norris, a reporter, walks in without knocking and almost discovers the trade secret that Farrell can't sing, although the public adores his singing in his first picture. Norris is close to Ryan and they're engaged without a firm marriage date. Ryan is a businesswoman assigned to Farrell.
Farrell receives a death threat note and a picture is stolen from his office. That night he's recording. Norris sneaks in and sees that he really cannot sing. Ryan persuades him not to report it until his career is firmly established.
Next, we see Farrell playing a scene in his next movie. A handgun that had been loaded with blanks the night before is shot as part of the scene and breaks a mirror, narrowly missing Farrell. Police (James Seay) are baffled. Then Farrell receives a second threatening letter.
A radio agent (Mack Williams) pursues Farrell for a stint singing at very high pay, but Farrell turns him down cold and throws him out. Angry, he vows to find out why. He enters the office of Farrell's agent (Frank Orth) one night, but he's shot and killed by an unknown assailant who enters through a window. Suspicion falls on Farrell.
We are a little past the halfway mark of this mystery. Later, Farrell argues with his own agent (Orth) who is also killed in the latter's office. Norris does a lot of detective work on his own. On the wrong track, he eventually gets on the right track.
The lead players more than hold our attention in well-written parts. The movie moves along briskly, although there are several pop/swing songs that slow it down. They are typical of the time but nothing special, even for an older audience.
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