Saturday, December 3, 2016

Grand Central Murder (1942)

Starring Van Heflin, Patricia Dane, Cecilia Parker, Virginia Grey, Samuel S. Hinds
Directed by S. Sylvan Simon
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

The murder of a golddigging Broadway star is investigated by a police inspector, but he's challenged by a private detective hired by one of the suspects who thinks he can solve the case more quickly.

A fun murder mystery with crackling dialogue from MGM, the picture features a talented cast and some intriguing flashback sequences, shot Rashomon-style from different character's perspectives.  Unfortunately, it's not very original, featuring the usual stock characters, like Levene's gruff police inspector and Heflin's smart but antagonistic detective, and a climax that's a little too familiar, although mystery buffs who enjoy these tropes might find this to be cinematic comfort food.  Be forewarned that as the screenplay throws a plethora of suspects and possible motives at us, it sneaks in a number of clues that the most careful viewer may forget about until Heflin ties things up at the end.  I must admit with everything going on, I didn't have time to guess the murderer's identity, so its revelation at film's end was something of a surprise, always a favorable quality in a whodunit of this type.

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