A girl has been murdered. A woman cannot remember a man who claims to be her husband. Her uncle hosts a radio murder mystery show called "The Unsuspected". Who killed the girl? Why? And who is this mystery husband? Written by
Composer Max Steiner recycles one of his themes from "The Maltese Falcon" in the soundtrack. See more »
During Oliver Keane's accident scene, he is seen driving a grey car at first, but when he skids off the road and tumbles down the hill, it is suddenly black. See more »
Quite a large party, isn't it?
Would you like to meet anyone?
It's not very appetizing. It's Victor's birthday. Once a year his friends crawl out of the woodwork.
This year it's a SURPRISE party!
Will he be surprised to see you?
[He takes her hand with the lit match]
I like matches. You never have to refill them...
[He pulls her hand toward him to light his own cigartte]
[...] See more »
Opening title and credits are typed in a bound manuscript, and we see someone's gloved hands flipping the pages. See more »
To answer the question, "Who is the unsuspected?" the viewer must wait until the very end of the film. In reality, the unsuspected is revealed toward the beginning of the movie. So though there aren't any real surprises--this is not a mystery--there is a big helping of suspense and thrills along the way. The viewer also gets a glimpse of old time radio just before television took over. Victor "Grandi" Grandison (Claude Rains) is a big time radio personality whose main claim to fame is telling creepy, murder stories, read from a script he helped write, to a large radio audience. Several scenes take place during the broadcast inside the radio studio. The viewer gets to see all the hand signals and day to day activities involved in a live broadcast in those days. Many radio shows were transcribed (recorded on huge record discs) both for posterity and for possible re-broadcasts. Grandi makes these for nefarious purposes also. How they are made is shown in great detail.
With lines such as "We missed you while you were dead," this is one of the best film noir screenplays of the 1940's. One of the great femme fatales of the era, Audrey Totter as Althea Keane, gets some of the wittiest lines, which she delivers with élan. So listen carefully when she speaks. She dominates every scene she's in. The only one in the cast who comes close to her acting talents is Claude Rains. In some ways his part closely resembles the character he played the year before in the Hitchcock classic "Notorious," the master spy Alexander Sebastian. While Althea's husband, the tipsy Oliver (Hurd Hatfield), also shines, his role is fairly cut and dried with only brief appearances. The others in the cast are more than adequate, in particular Jack Lambert as Mr. Press, a violent, shady character who is blackmailed into doing dirty work for Grandi.
Michael Curtiz knowingly directs in noir fashion with crisp black and white photography surrounded by rainy, spooky nights making the audience believe that danger lurks in the shadows. Curtiz makes sure the film is fast-paced. There is even an exciting chase at the end involving Jack Lambert recklessly driving through traffic in a pickup truck, attempting to destroy evidence at the city dump before the motorcycle cops catch up with him.
The music blends in with the story. For example, when Grandi comes home unsuspected, his birthday party is in full swing. The piano man fills the room with "Someone To Watch Over Me." Grandi is unnerved by the tune and makes a snide remark to Matilda Frazier (Joan Caulfield) to the effect that he would like to fire the piano player. Neglected for years, critics and noir fans are just now discovering this intriguing movie.
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