Amid a semi-documentary portrait of New York and its people, Jean Dexter, an attractive blonde model, is murdered in her apartment. Homicide detectives Dan Muldoon and Jimmy Halloran ... See full summary »
When powerful publishing tycoon Earl Janouth commits an act of murder at the height of passion, he cleverly begins to cover his tracks and frame an innocent man, whose identity he doesn't know, but who just happen to have contact with the murder victim. That man is a close associate on his magazine whom he enlists to trap this "killer" George Stroud. It's up to George to continue to "help" Janouth, to elude the police and to find proof of his innocence and Janouth's guilt. Written by
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I'm not sure I would categorize it a noir as much as I would a Mystery/suspense film. But whatever you call it, I call it a great way to spend 95 minutes. I can't recall a film that does a better job of building the suspense as this one. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire last half of the film.
The film makes great use of irony to help achieve this - in that the lead character, George Stroud (Ray Milland), is called upon to search for a wanted man - who turns out to be himself. He is mistakenly believed to be the killer of his boss' mistress, when in reality, it is the boss, Earl Janoth (Charles Laughton), who is the guilty party. It is a classic cat and mouse game - except that instead of searching for the "Randolph" character, Stroud is actually trying to find the real killer so as to clear his own name.
Stroud is literally surrounded on all sides by people who could identify him as the man who was with the murdered mistress on the night she was killed. He is running for his life within his own office building trying to avoid being identified. I love how the painting and the artist are used in the story. Elsa Lanchester was a true gem and quite a funny character. It's interesting to note that she was married to Charles Laughton. They certainly make an odd pair - especially in light of the fact of his known homosexuality.
Another married couple from the film was actress Maureen O'Sullivan, who played Stroud's wife, and Director John Farrow. They were married for 27 years (until his death) and had 7 children together, including Mia Farrow. Maureen and Mia appeared together in HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (1986).
Overall, a very good movie with a talented cast.
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