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Death of media magnat Amos Kyne is causing power struggle between his executives. In the meantime New York women become prey of a serial killer. Reporter Edward Mobley is in that circumstances faced with almost impossible missions: to catch the killer, to prevent the media empire from falling into the wrong hands and to save his romantic relationship from break-up. Written by
Dragan Antulov <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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Could have been darker and grittier but is still an enjoyable ensemble mystery
When media mogul Amos Kyne dies his playboy son takes over the seat of power but, knowing he is unable to manage such an organisation he decides to create an executive directorship just below his role to do all the real work and day to day managing of the company. Meanwhile a serial killer is stalking the city, strangling young women in their homes. With this story becoming big news Kyne Jr decides how he will appoint his new Ex Director it will be the first of the potential employees to bring him the scoop on the Lipstick Killer, as he is known.
With an intriguing plot and an impressive ensemble approach with the casting, this film offered much and, although it could have been darker in tone, it still offered a lot of potential to be a slick urban mystery. The story is basically a mystery where a group of mercenary journalists compete for a top job by trying to catch a serial killer. Typical for this sort of thing, the journalists are all hard-talking and hard-drinking while still being likable rogues to a man; the driven edge they have offers much but the film doesn't follow through for example I was shocked by the idea of Mobley offering his own fiancé up as bait but disliked the way she treated it as a bit of a laugh and didn't respond convincingly. Likewise the story contains adultery and betrayal between the characters and while it hints at much it doesn't throw up as many ethical shadows as I felt it should be doing. Regardless of this the story is still good; the mystery aspect is not that interesting and, despite the fact people were being killed I didn't ever feel like it was a race against time or anything. What the story does better is to develop the various characters and draw the drama from their relationships and tensions.
For this reason the ensemble cast does pretty well and features a host of big names. Andrews is the lead of the group and he has a good presence although I would have liked him to be a little bit less likable and be as ethically questionable as his methods suggest he was. Sanders is not that great, mainly because his material is not as strong; conversely Craig is better because his material is more interesting. Price is good in his role and Mitchell provides good support and fits the newspaper editor stereotype. Fleming and Lupino are much better than Forrest, who is a bit weak when viewed alongside such actors. Barrymore, Warwick and others do well in smaller roles but the guy who played the Lipstick Killer was a bit of a pain as he seemed to relentlessly ham it up and skulk around all to obviously.
Overall though the film stands up and is an enjoyable ensemble drama with a bit of mystery tension. The actual race to find the killer is less of a draw than the tensions between the journalists and their partners and it never got as exciting as it should have done but it is still interesting. Viewers who like their noirs to be a bit murkier and darker may be disappointed to find that the script hints at darkness but also keeps everyone likable a failing I must admit bothered me because I could see the potential but other than this it is still worth watching.
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