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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Crime By Night (1944)

Starring Jane Wyman, Jerome Cowan, Faye Emerson, Charles Lang, Eleanor Parker
Directed by William Clemens
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A private detective and his helpful secretary try to clear their client of the murder of his ex-father-in-law, and discover a wealth of other suspects during their investigation.

Although the characters have different names, this mystery is very similar to the previous year's Find The Blackmailer, which also starred Cowan as a detective and Emerson as a beautiful suspect, although Jane Wyman fills the role of the secretary that Marjorie Hoshelle played in the earlier film.  The first half of the film is well-scripted and compelling, introducing us to well-defined characters, including the less than honest sheriff running for re-election, the daughter of the victim who has secrets to hide, her boyfriend with a nasty disposition who sings at the local hotel, and the agent who represents the singer but used to manage Cowan's client.   The latter half however seems to wrap things up a little too quickly, making the murderer's identity all too clear before Cowan springs his trap.  Nonetheless, I enjoyed the film and Cowan and Wyman have good chemistry.

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