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A married Broadway producer is taken with an innocent young woman who wants to be a writer and make it on Broadway. He decides to take her under his wing, but it's not long before the young lady is found dead in his apartment. At first thought to be a suicide, it is later discovered that she has been murdered, and suspicion immediately falls on the producer. He begins his own investigation in order to clear his name, and one of the first things he finds out is that the young woman wasn't quite as naive and innocent as she appeared to be. Written by
Very impressive cast in a better than OK murder mystery. With touches of All About Eve and Sunset Boulevard, this film moves along at a good clip with only a few draggy scenes.
Ginger Rogers plays a bitchy stage diva who is married to a mousy man (Reginald Gardiner) and lives in the same apartment building as her producer (Van Heflin) who is also married to an actress (Gene Tierney). While Tierney is away, Heflin attends one of Rogers' big parties and meets a quiet young woman (Peggy Ann Garner) who actually has no real interest in acting or theatre. She is a writer. He invites her out for a real meal and she insinuates herself into his life.
The party scene is pretty funny with Ginger ripping off several "Margo Channing" ripostes at the expense of Bea Benaderet. Heflin is infatuated with the serious young Garner whose only link to the stage is her uncle (Otto Kruger) who is an actor. She also befriends a young brother and sister from Boston (Virginia Leith & Skip Homeier) who are doing the Greenwicj Village beatnik thing.
Well there is an apparent suicide and that brings in a detective (George Raft) who hounds everyone. When the suicide is discovered to be a murder, things get really dicey for all involved.
For the most part the acting is solid. I never liked Heflin but he's OK in this film. Rogers plays the diva well and looks great. Tierney gets a few good scenes. Raft is solid as the detective. Gardiner is especially good, but Peggy Ann Garner, a top child star of the 40s is quite excellent as the moody and strange young writer. Oddly, she didn't make a film after this one for another 12 years. She reminds me here of Barbara Bel Geddes. Bea Benaderet as the party guest, Otto Kruger as the uncle, and Leith and Homeier as the beatniks are all good.
Also in this film are Cathleen Nesbitt oddly cast as a cleaning lady, Mabel Albertson is the bar owner, Hilda Simms plays the sympathetic waitress, and believe it or not, the gangly witness from the movie theater is Aaron Spelling, who would have a major career as a TV producer.
Worth a watch.
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