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Phantom Lady (1944)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 28 January 1944 (USA)
A devoted secretary risks her life to try to find the elusive woman who may prove her boss didn't murder his selfish wife.

Director:

Robert Siodmak

Writers:

Bernard C. Schoenfeld (screenplay), Cornell Woolrich (based on the novel by) (as William Irish)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Franchot Tone ... Jack Marlow
Ella Raines ... Carol Richman
Alan Curtis ... Scott Henderson
Aurora Miranda ... Estela Monteiro (as Aurora)
Thomas Gomez ... Inspector Burgess
Fay Helm ... Ann Terry
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Cliff
Andrew Tombes ... Bartender
Regis Toomey ... Detective
Joseph Crehan ... Detective
Doris Lloyd ... Kettisha
Virginia Brissac ... Dr. Chase
Milburn Stone ... District Attorney (voice)
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Storyline

Unhappily married Scott Henderson spends the evening on a no-name basis with a hat-wearing woman he picked up in a bar. Returning home, he finds his wife strangled and becomes the prime suspect in her murder. Every effort to establish his alibi fails; oddly no one seems to remember seeing the phantom lady (or her hat). In prison, Scott gives up hope but his faithful secretary, "Kansas," doggedly follows evanescent clues through shadowy nocturnal streets. Can she save Scott in time? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A STORY THAT HAS THRILLED MILLIONS! (original print ad-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Portuguese

Release Date:

28 January 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Condemned to Hang See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The elusive phantom lady being sought by 'Kansas' is repeatedly referenced in the story as 'Miss Terry' - 'mystery' See more »

Goofs

Early in the film, the character Scott Henderson is found guilty of second-degree murder and condemned to death. In New York in the 1940s, the jury would have to find him guilty of first-degree murder in order to condemn him to death. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ann Terry: [to bartender] Give me a nickel, please.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Chick-ee-Chick
(1944) (uncredited)
Music by Jacques Press
Lyrics by Eddie Cherkose
Performed by Aurora Miranda and showgirls at the Casino
See more »

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User Reviews

At Least The Middle Third Was Excellent
17 September 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

I found this film noir to be odd in that the beginning and the end were both lousy but the middle part was excellent. The "lousy" parts are such because they drag on and are simply boring when they don't have to be. The immediate opening scenes are fine, showing an innocent man, "Scott Henderson" (Alan Curtis) being charged and found guilty of a murder he didn't commit....but then almost nothing happens for the next 20 minutes.

Then comes the good part when Henderson's secretary "Carol 'Kansas' Richmond" (Ella Raines) gets involved, taking it upon herself to find the missing woman who could prove that her boss was innocent. During her pursuit we meet a couple of very interesting characters and we see some outstanding film-noir photography.

The most interesting character, "Cliff," was played by film noir regular Elisha Cook Jr. He has one scene in which he takes Raines to a local warehouse-type room where his jazz band is practicing. Cook then shows off with this drum playing and it is so frenetic, so bizarre that it is almost shocking to watch. You have to see it, to appreciate it. It's a small, insignificant scene but very memorable. A few other minor characters are a bit strange, too.

Thomas Gomez plays a cop ("Inspector Burgess") who winds up helping Raines a bit, and he's good to watch, too.In the end, Raines discovers what's up and is in peril herself. That scene has suspense but is too drawn out. It's like, "okay, already.....let's go on with it!"


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