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:

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

After the film's release, Jacques Press and Eddie Cherkose sued Universal for $20,000 for not getting on-screen credit for their song "Chick-ee-Chick." 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 Frieda (1947) 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

Quirky "B" Film
10 May 2004 | by Bucs1960See all my reviews

This is a strange little movie.......a film noir with some good performances and some not so good. You often see this film on lists of noir classics but it raises the inevitable question....is it a classic or does it have just too many faults to raise it to the level of winners like "DOA", "The Big Sleep" or "Night and the City".

The premise is fairly good. A man can't prove his whereabouts when his wife is murdered and can only describe his alibi as an unknown woman wearing a rather distinctive hat The story follows the hero's secretary and a sympathetic policeman as they try to prove his innocence. Alan Curtis is a disaster as a gloomy, rather unlikeable man who pretty much gives up trying to find the real killer and becomes resigned to his fate. He doesn't put up much of a fight and his attitude doesn't help much. The lovely Ella Raines portrays the secretary who gets herself into some uncomfortable situations, especially with Elisha Cooke Jr as the drummer man with the plan. Plenty has been said about the drumming scene which somehow sneaked by the censors. It has to be seen to be believed.......whew!!

Franchot Tone plays the hero's best friend and I am still trying to figure out if his playing of that part was really good or really bad. The answer is probably "really bad". The role is against type for him and he overdoes it. He does have a great apartment though!

Fay Helm, playing the woman with the hat, is strangely attractive and is just right for the "phantom lady". Thomas Gomez, as the friendly cop, does his usual good job. So is this film worth watching?......yes. It has some plot holes but overall it is enjoyable. Give it a try.


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