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22 user 9 critic

Lady in the Death House (1944)

A young woman is on death row for the murder of a man who was blackmailing her family, although she claims she was framed. Her fiance, a doctor who is conducting experiments on reviving the... See full summary »

Director:

Steve Sekely

Writers:

Frederick C. Davis (original story: "Meet the Executioner"), Harry O. Hoyt (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Jean Parker ... Mary Kirk Logan
Lionel Atwill ... Charles Finch
Douglas Fowley ... Dr. Dwight 'Brad' Bradford
Marcia Mae Jones ... Suzy Kirk Logan
Robert Middlemass ... State's Attorney
Cy Kendall ... Detective
John Maxwell ... Robert Snell
George Irving ... Gregory
Forrest Taylor ... Warden
Sam Flint ... Gov. Harrison
Dick Curtis ... Willis Millen
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Storyline

A young woman is on death row for the murder of a man who was blackmailing her family, although she claims she was framed. Her fiance, a doctor who is conducting experiments on reviving the dead, also happens to be the state's executioner, and is assigned to pull the switch when she is strapped into the electric chair. A famous criminologist, believing her to be innocent, rushes to investigate the case and clear her before her execution date. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

male female relationship | See All (1) »

Taglines:

Even now I can hear preparations for my execution See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 March 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Executioner See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The apartment of one of the main characters has a front door that opens into the hallway rather than into the apartment. This goes against building regulations, and serves no purpose in the movie, as opposed to 1944's 'Double Indemnity' where such a door opening into the hallway does have a specific reason. So it seems nothing more than an oversight on the part of the set builders. See more »

Quotes

Girl overheard at bar: So after all that, what could I do? I just had to accept the mink coat.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A fine example of economical story telling.
4 May 2005 | by dkelseySee all my reviews

This tautly constructed little movie should serve as a model for those modern film authors who cannot unfold the simplest story line in less than two hours.

The movie opens with Mary Kirk being led from her cell to walk to the death chamber. She leaves a letter for Charles Finch, a psychologist and criminologist. In it she has outlined the events which led to her situation. We then see Finch reading the letter to a small group of reporters, supplementing it with an account of his own involvement in the affair. His first person narrative alternates with flashback depiction of the events. Half way into the movie he has reached the point at which Mary was convicted and sentenced to death. The next 20 minutes cover his subsequent efforts to find the evidence which will clear her. He still has not succeeded by the time we have caught up to the opening of the movie and see Mary finish her walk to the electric chair. The remaining few minutes are a desperate race against the clock played more or less in real time.

The movie does not waste an inch of film. Every scene conveys information and advances the action, with smooth and skillful links. Particularly effective is the way in which the character of Mary's younger sister, Suzy, is handled. Her appearances are almost always incidental to the main action, but as the movie progresses it becomes clear that she is somehow central to the solution.

The nature of the plot means that the title character plays a passive rather than an active role. Jean Parker is persuasive in the part, wisely forgoing the opportunities for melodramatics. Marcia Mae Jones' porcelain-doll prettiness frequently led to her being cast as a vain and foolish little madam, and her role here as Suzy suits her talents. Lionel Atwill makes a convincing sleuth, neatly conveying a blend of scientific detachment, humanitarian concern, and an occasional twinkle of humour.

Anybody who thinks that "first class B movie" is an oxymoron should study this film and learn better.


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