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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 »
In a way, it's easy to see why Lucille Ball did not achieve mega movie stardom. By the time she was getting decent roles, she was in her thirties, and back in those days, that was getting long in the tooth. Though she was beautiful, she had the delivery of a character woman -- great comic timing and dry wit. I suspect Hollywood wasn't sure what to do with her -- too pretty for the Eve Arden roles, and not ingenue enough for the leading lady ones.
In "Lured," Ball plays Sandra Carpenter, an American dancer living in London whose good friend and fellow dancer disappears after answering a personal ad. The police, led by Inspector Temple (Charles Coburn) have been frustrated by a series of poems they have been receiving before a murder of a young woman takes place. They feel helpless. When it turns out that Sandra's friend is a victim of the mad poet, the Harley asks Sandra to act as bait and answer suspect ads. They will be watching her at all times.
Sandra has some strange adventures -- one with a whack job (Boris Karloff) who wants to paint her in costume, and then she is invited to a concert where her date does not show up. There, she meets wealthy Robert Fleming (George Sanders) who sweeps her off her feet. Could he be the killer? Could it be the strange doctor she meets? There are a few suspects.
Well directed by Douglas Sirk, known later for his big glossy soap opera type films, "Lured" has suspense and atmosphere, though it moves from a mystery to a love story mid-script. However, the performances are very good - Lucy looks stunning in her gowns and she plays the down to earth, savvy young woman very well; George Sanders is smooth as silk, and the two have good chemistry. Sir Cedric Hardwicke gives a standout performance, and Coburn is excellent. "Alfred the Butler" from the Batman series, Alan Napier, is also in the film, as is George Zucco.
Recommended. Very enjoyable. Just wish the emphasis had been more on the mystery.
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