7.3/10
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68 user 38 critic

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:

IT'S UNIQUE...suspense...mystery...drama! 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

During an overhead shot in the sequence where Kansas trails the bartender through a deserted street after he gets off work, the actors are clearly connected waist-to-waist by a thin wire - most likely so that the actress stayed an exact number of feet behind the actor to ensure both were in focus during what was apparently a tricky camera set-up. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in The Omega Factor: Visitations (1979) 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

 
ooh baby, that's some noir you've got there
1 October 2005 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Robert Siodmak does a fabulous job with this B noir starring Ella Raines, Franchot Tone, and Alan Curtis. And he does it, I might add, without a lot of help from his male actors, i.e., Curtis and Tone. It's Raines all the way, a pretty, leggy actress who for one reason or another never reached the status of some of her "noir" counterparts.

Siodmak's use of sex, light, shadows, and music is truly remarkable as he tackles this genre. The shadows, lighting effects, and camera angles are all effective. But the highlight of the film takes place in a nightclub with a very sexual drum riff by Elisha Cook, egged on by an excited Raines. It's this scene that brings "Phantom Lady" into new territory.

Siodmak's commitment to the material is matched only by Raines, who gives a sincere performance as a woman in love trying to save her man. Franchot Tone phoned this one in. Alan Curtis didn't seem upset that he might die and didn't seem happy that he lived. And he never, except for a brief moment in prison, seemed to be in love with Raines.

The amusing thing about many of these films is that, as World War II progressed, interest in psychiatry deepened. But often the terms were used incorrectly in films such as "Possessed," "Spellbound," and "The Greatest Show on Earth." Tone is called paranoid by Thomas Gomez - Tone probably has some paranoia attached to his disorder, but he appears to be closer to a psychopath. In actuality, as evidenced by his headaches, he may have had a brain tumor pushing against his brain.

Phantom Lady doesn't have the greatest plot, but it's well worth watching.


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