A serial killer in London is murdering young women whom he meets through the personal columns of newspapers; he announces each of his murders to the police by sending them a cryptic poem. ... See full summary »
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A serial killer in London is murdering young women whom he meets through the personal columns of newspapers; he announces each of his murders to the police by sending them a cryptic poem. After a dancer disappears, the police enlist an American friend of hers, Sandra Carpenter, to answer advertisements in the personal columns and so lure the killer. Written by
David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>
The title was changed to "Personal Column" midway through the original U.S. theatrical release because staff at the Production Code Administration thought the word "lured" sounded too much like "lurid". Director Douglas Sirk felt the title change confused potential audiences and led to the film's box-office failure. See more »
When Sandra goes to visit Julian towards the end of the movie, they have a conversation, and when Julian says, "That's why he chose death," you can see that Sandra is saying something we don't hear. See more »
Opening credits - a flashlight pans along the side of a building, and the credits are written on the side of the wall. See more »
This excellent noir film was somewhat copied forty years later as "Sea of Love," with several changes bringing it up-to-date. One surprise in store for viewers is the comic talents of George Zucco, obviously kept hidden throughout most of his brilliant acting career. He is an excellent comedic sparring partner for Lucille Ball. They work well as a team, providing laughs that are sorely needed in an otherwise serious murder mystery thriller. Boris Karloff adds to the fun as well, giving a monster performance as an insane dress designer--can you believe? The stellar lineup also includes the likes of George Sanders, Charles Coburn, Cedric Hardwicke, and Alan Mowbray. The cast alone is worth the price of admission.
Directed with savvy by Douglas Sirk, the film has a script put together by a hodgepodge of writers. Still, the dialog is filled with witty and intelligent lines. The mystery will keep the viewer guessing until the serial killer is revealed. There are red herrings along the way to lead the best sleuth astray. Even when the movie seems to be ending with the mystery solved, it becomes the wrong solution to the case under investigation. The film proceeds to fool the viewer a second time before the ultimate meanie is apprehended. There are thrills aplenty throughout this delicious cinematic whodunit.
The story involves a serial killer running amok in London who kills beautiful young women lured by newspaper ads. The madman fancies himself a poet copying his style from the dark poetry of Charles Baudelaire, who once wrote about a tempting woman being more beautiful in death. One such poem is sent to Scotland Yard before each murder. Inspector Harley Temple (Coburn) is determined to catch the psycho any way possible, even using a young woman, Sandra Carpenter (Ball), as a decoy to lure the monster out into the open. Sandra is chosen when she inquires about her good friend's disappearance. Coincidentally, her friend's moniker is Lucy. In the process of finding the perpetrator of the crimes, Sandra makes several interesting encounters, eventually meeting a stranger named Robert Fleming (Sanders) with whom she falls in love. Their favorite song becomes "All For Love," which serves as a clue in the mystery.
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