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Olivia de Havilland,
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
Nunnally Johnson originally offered the role played by Ginger Rogers to Tallulah Bankhead, who called the writer-producer and--in a 25-minute phone conversation--gave him her reasons for rejecting the role. Rogers turned the part down as well, but had a change of heart after Johnson sent her a letter asking her to reconsider--on the proviso that she could take the relatively minor role and make it into a star-turn. See more »
The tray emptying out in four seconds was an obvious joke. See more »
"Black Widow" is a well-written, though old-style, entertaining mystery. The story is taken from a novel by Patrick Quentin, a sound mystery-writer.
However the essence of the movie lies in the magnificent cinemascope photography, colors and visual effects. Note that most scenes have in the background large windows or terraces wide-open on the spectacular, terrific New York sceneries. Even the furniture of the various apartments is carefully chosen and placed, with beautiful artistic effects. Outstanding is the brief scene inside the dark bar, with the costumers merged into a liquid light: an evident reminiscence of Edward Hopper's paintings.
Alas! All these visual beauties are seriously damaged, if not destroyed, by the TV version, which essentially shows just half of the screen.
The performances by all interpreters are generally good and professional. A major (personal) disappointment is that Gene Tierney does nothing. She's not even in the list of suspects, since she was thousands of miles away from New York during the whole murder affair. She just sits silently on the background, adding her incomparable beauty and natural refinement to the magnificent New York views. It should be added that George Raft seems completely out-of-role... but I'm too fond of this guy to be able to criticize him.
"Black Widow" is a good film; hopefully someone will be able to see it on the wide screen.
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