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Nocturne (1946)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 29 October 1946 (USA)
In 1940s Los Angeles, when womanizing composer Keith Vincent is found dead, the inquest concludes it was a suicide but police detective Joe Warne isn't so sure.

Director:

Edwin L. Marin

Writers:

Jonathan Latimer (screen play), Frank Fenton (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George Raft ... Joe Warne
Lynn Bari ... Frances Ransom
Virginia Huston ... Carol Page
Joseph Pevney ... Fingers
Myrna Dell ... Susan
Edward Ashley ... Vincent
Walter Sande ... Halberson
Mabel Paige ... Mrs. Warne
Bern Hoffman Bern Hoffman ... Torp (as Bernard Hoffman)
Queenie Smith ... Queenie
Mack Gray ... Gratz (as Mack Grey)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lilian Bond ... Mrs. Billings (scenes deleted)
Broderick O'Farrell ... Billings' Butler (scenes deleted)
William Wright ... Mr. Billings (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Police detective Joe Warne investigates the shooting of womanizing composer Keith Vincent. Evidence points to suicide and that is the official verdict, but Joe doesn't buy it and obsessively keeps looking, tracking down one discarded love after another, despite being ordered off the case. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Whose legs are these ? 10 beautiful brunettes with a motive for murder !


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Nocturno See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

There is a poster for RKO film Riff Raff in the lobby of the Pantages Theatre. See more »

Goofs

Fingers is playing a spinet piano, but the sound is that of a grand piano. See more »

Quotes

Olsen - Police Photographer: Why can't a pretty girl bump herself once? Gets monotonous making pictures of men all the time!
See more »

Connections

References Riffraff (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturne
Music by Leigh Harline
Lyrics by Mort Greene
Sung by Virginia Huston (dubbed by Martha Mears) (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Raft Is One Tough Mamma's Boy In Polished 'Forties Thriller
2 January 2015 | by oldblackandwhiteSee all my reviews

Nocturne is an atmospheric, entertaining noir/mystery thriller starring taciturn George Raft as a suspended Los Angeles police detective obsessed with proving an apparent suicide was actually a murder. During the course of his investigation, he gets to check out a covey of beautiful dames, as the murder victim was a Lothario par excellence. Even with the list narrowed down, figuring out which babe is the real femme-fa-tale may be the key to the mystery. Was it beautiful, buxom Lynn Bari, leggy, glamorous singer Virginia Huston, or some other honey -- you can't even trust the cleaning lady in this one! Wise-cracking, live-in maid Myrna Dell may have been more and known more than she lets on. Never mind the detective lives with his mother. He probably couldn't have supported the old bingo babe in the style she wasn't accustomed with separate digs on his salary. Mamma's boy or not, he's tough enough for the physical and emotional poundings he will have to go though before he gets to the bottom of this convoluted mystery.

Nocturne is stylishly directed and sensuously filmed by all-purpose director Edwin L. Marin and veteran cinematographer Harry J. Wild with classic noir atmosphere so thick they could have bottled it. Top screen writer and sometimes mystery novelist Jonathan Latimer provides crackling, tough dialog while managing all the taut twists and turns of the Frank Fenton/Rowland Brown story. Marin was equally at home directing mystery thrillers like this, Ann Sothern's light comedies, or some of Randolph Scott's better westerns -- see my review of Fort Worth (1951). Nocturne is one of several collaborations between Marin and Raft, and they seemed to bring out the best in each other. The dark, intense, scene with Raft at the window curtains of the photographer's house is a text book example of noir cinema.

Much ink -- far too much in fact -- has been spilled on this forum labeling George Raft a stiff, even a bad actor. All unfairly. Raft was a stone face to a certain extent all right, but that fit the characters he played -- and his fans liked. Nevertheless he said a lot with his eyes, inflections of his slightly nasal Lower-East Side Manhattan voice, and an enigmatic half-smile. Such a stoic style was admired in men of the 1940's, who regarded "wearing your emotions on your lapel" as unmanly, self-centered, and ill-mannered. This is of course a concept alien to the typically self-absorbed Baby Boomers and their strange hatchlings Gen-Xers, who spend practically every evening examining their navels then all the next day spilling their guts about it to whomever will listen.

George Raft was actually a pretty good actor. And Nocturne is an excellent noir/mystery -- atmospheric, thrilling, dramatically engaging, dark, mysterious, exotic, and ultimately satisfying. Top drawer entertainment from Old Hollywood's Golden Era.


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