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Roy William Neill
On the eve of his marriage, a young man's fiance disappears. He hires a private detective to help him track her down, but soon finds himself entangled in a web of lies, intrigue and murder revolving around his fiance's dead ex-husband and his wealthy, corrupt family. Written by
This being the final entry in the superlative Whistler series, I was expecting a dud. But it's not. Overall, the movie is definitely second rank but still representative of many of the series' better elements. The mystery sets up quickly as prospective bride (Aubert) disappears from her hotel room, leaving prospective groom (Duane) wondering what went wrong. After all, she seemed so sincere and loving. The hotel clerk (Howland, I believe) is worse than no help and may make you glad for Motel 6. The mystery deepens as detective Lane turns up clues and things begin to appear not as expected.
Duane is serviceable in the lead, replacing series regular Richard Dix. More importantly, I'm not sure how well the aging, dissipated Dix could have matched up with the innocent bridegroom role, anyway. What the entry lacks is the trademark provocative ending and the suffused atmosphere that characterize the William Castle directed entries, suggesting that Castle was more formative to the series' overall excellence than perhaps thought.
Still, it's puzzling to me that the series ended so abruptly, even without Dix. The material certainly reflected popular noirish programming of the period, so I would surmise that an audience was there. Perhaps there's an inside story. Nonetheless, in my little book, The Whistler series remains the most memorably unusual to emerge from the movie- drenched 1940's, even if this entry falls short.
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