Barbara Vining is 17 years old and living with her family in a 1950s postwar English village. Her father, Henry, is a newspaper journalist and mother, Vi, a homemaker; her maiden aunt, ... See full summary »
The Daily Clarion hires detective story writer Steve Colt to investigate the deaths of a group of scientists working on an atomic rocket development project. Behind the killings is fortune ... See full summary »
A married Broadway producer is taken with an innocent young woman who wants to be a writer and make it on Broadway. He decides to take her under his wing, but it's not long before the young lady is found dead in his apartment. At first thought to be a suicide, it is later discovered that she has been murdered, and suspicion immediately falls on the producer. He begins his own investigation in order to clear his name, and one of the first things he finds out is that the young woman wasn't quite as naive and innocent as she appeared to be. Written by
Early in the movie, at Lottie's party the waiter first pauses with a full tray of assorted drinks--then passes uninterrupted through the crowd to offer the single remaining drink to Peter Denver. See more »
Five years earlier, this drawingroom drama would have been filmed in small screen b&w. But the year is 1954 and film audiences are staying home with their new-fangled little black boxes. So a big budget studio like TCF takes what amounts to an "Ellery Queen in Manhattan" plot, gussies it up in lavish color, stretches the screen to Cinemascope length, loads up the marquee with big names, and sends the result out to compete with Lucille Ball and Milton Berle. I don't know how well the strategy succeeded commercially, but I enjoyed the movie then and still do.
As a whodunit, the mystery's only partially successful—not enough suspects and too convoluted to follow. At the same time, the pacing sometimes sags in ways that undercut the suspense. Still, the 95 minutes does add up to a gorgeous tapestry, thanks to expert art direction, set decoration, and a well-upholstered cast. And who could hold together a sometimes-confusing storyline better than the always-reliable Van Heflin. Also, I expect urbane writer-director Nunnally Johnson fit comfortably with the sophisticated Manhattan setting and show-biz personalities. So, it's not surprising that he gets off some insider innuendo. Catch the cocktail party shot at gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, known for her bizarre headgear; I expect Johnson was settling an old score there. Then too, having the ingénue (Garner) turn up mysteriously pregnant is rather daring for the straitjacketed Production Code period. Also, watch for the skinny young actor (Oliver) interviewed by Heflin near film's end. That's future TV mogul Aaron Spelling getting a proverbial foot in the door.
Anyway, the film provides an entertaining glimpse of drawingroom drama getting a face-lift during the early years of the television challenge.
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