The City of Chicago is gripped by an Axe Murderer. The streets are empty at night as there have been six murders and six people have been caught, but they are lunatics. Only one person has ... See full summary »
A Los Angeles socialite kills a man while home alone one night and claims he was an intruder she did not know. It seems like a clear case of self defense until the story hits the papers and people connected to the dead man come forward.
Angered that her sister Celia has stolen her fiance, Dell Faring kills her and allows Celia's husband David, knocked out in an argument with Celia, to take the blame and end up on death row. Later Dell, finding out that David's young daughter Susan was witness to the crime and is undergoing psychiatric treatment, plans to eliminate her before her memory returns. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The treating psychiatrist, Dr. Caroline Canford, was played by a future "First Lady," Nancy Davis Reagan. Nancy had met then First Lady Grace Coolidge when she was seven. See more »
When Dell frantically flips through the front section of a newspaper looking for an article about the possible demise of her step-niece, the prop newspaper clearly has no name banner, headlines, photos or ads. See more »
I'm glad Celia went to the early show. I don't think she likes us very much.
David I. Starrling:
Susan, what a dreadful thing to say about your mother.
She's not my mother. My mother's dead. You said so yourself.
David I. Starrling:
Celia's your mother now. It's not easy for her. Promise me you wont' say thing like that again.
Ok, I promise. I won't say it again. But I'll still think it.
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David (Zachary Scott) is married to a no-good cheat, Celia. After returning from a business trip, he learns at a dinner party that his wife and 'friend' are having an affair. Later, as the two are arguing over this, Celia knocks out David. In the meantime, Celia's sister, Dell (Ann Sothern) arrives and confronts Celia for stealing her fiancé. Soon Dell kills Celia...and with David unconscious, he's assumed to have done the killing...and David isn't sure he didn't. David's been sent to death row and the only glitch in Dell's plan is that David's young daughter (Gigi Perreau) might have witnessed the killing and Dell needs to be certain she won't talk. While the young girl is too traumatized to fully recall the events, she could remember through the course of therapy...and it could be Dell on death row instead! So Dell can either wait and hope the child cannot remember or kill her to make certain!
This is an unusual film due to the casting. This is NOT a complaint, but seeing Ann Sothern playing a killer is interesting, as she usually played nice, sweet folks like her Maisie character from the 1940s. At first, you can understand her motivation in killing her sister...but to see her attempting to murder an innocent child...that is a dark and twisted character! Additionally, this is one of the few films I've seen where Nancy David (Reagan) is given a chance to really act and she was quite nice as the child psychiatrist, Caroline. In other films, such as "Hellcats of the Navy" and "The Next Voice You Hear", Davis never really had a chance to shine as an actress.
As for the film itself, it is very good and worth seeing. It's also very unusual for MGM...a studio that wasn't known for such dark films back in 1950. In general, film noir pictures were done by other studios and MGM preferred making 'nice' movies...but here they've created a rather hard-hearted film! This is NOT a complaint...I liked the film and can easily recommend it to anyone.
By the way, one odd thing you see in the film is 'hydrotherapy'. Back in the bad old days of psychiatric treatment, hospitals often used baths to somehow try to cure or alleviate suffering in mental patients. In the really bad old days, it was ice water! Here, in the more enlightened 20th century, the baths were less traumatic and more soothing--with warm water. Of dubious value...but at least not harmful in the latter.
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