Sunday, February 14, 2016

Phantom Lady (1944)

Starring Franchot Tone, Ella Raines, Alan Curtis, Aurora, Thomas Gomez
Directed by Robert Siodmak
(actor & director credits courtesy

After a civil engineer is convicted of murdering his wife, his lovely assistant takes it upon herself to track down the woman who could provide his alibi.

A very effective thriller from Siodmak, one of the best directors of film noir in the 1940s, the picture boasts first rate photography from Woody Bredell, skillful editing from Arthur Hilton, and wonderful use of sound, with Raines' footfalls dominating a memorable sequence in which she trails a suspect.  A more famous scene finds Raines visiting a small room where a jazz band plays, with actor Elisha Cook's energetic drumming underscoring his lustful pursuit of the beauty.  Although the script and the performances don't stand out quite as much, it's a unique mystery well-tailored around Raines.

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