Jane Wyman, Richard Todd, Marlene Dietrich
Det. Smith: I once had a cousin who had an ulcer and an extremely funny face, both at the same time. Everybody laughed at him when he was telling his symptoms. His name was Jim.
Eve Gill: That must’ve been terrible!
Det. Smith: Oh, I don’t know, Jim is quite a common name.
Jonathan (Todd) is obsessed with Charlotte (Dietrich), a well respected entertainer. Enough that he even tries to cover up her guilt when she kills her abusive husband. Jonathan is spotted by Charlotte’s maid while he’s staging a crime scene and must go on the run from the police. Eve (Wyman) loves Jonathan and wants to prove his innocence, so she romances a police detective and goes undercover as a new assistant to Charlotte.
It’s another murder mystery from Alfred Hitchcock, though not quite up to par with his better films. It does have some good moments of wit, a couple of good performances, and a decent amount of suspense, but the twist at the end left me thinking some of the earlier scenes were a bit of a cheat. It seems like some of the early scenes were intentionally misleading in a way that just doesn’t make sense in the context of the whole film.
Jane Wyman is good and sympathetic as Eve, and Alastair Sim is very enjoyable as her father. He’s the voice of reason and intelligence and brings some energy to a movie that does tend to drag at times. Richard Todd, as Jonathan, isn’t as enjoyable, mostly overacting and looking wide-eyed for the whole movie. Fortunately we follow more of Eve’s exploits than Jonathan’s.
As I mentioned, this one does seem to drag a bit at times. I noticed that I was ready for it to end a good bit before it was, apparently. The mystery just wasn’t compelling enough to really hold my attention. The only person that seemed at risk was Jonathan, and seeing as how I didn’t really like him, I didn’t care so much.
There is some good here, and there is some boring here, but the good was plentiful enough to make it watchable. I just don’t know if it’s going to be one I revisit very often when I want my Hitchcock fix. I’ll probably rely on Rear Window or Notorious for that.
The usual Hitchcock lesson…don’t trust anybody!
10 – 1.8 for being a little dull and uninspiring here and there – 1 for a couple of performances/characters that could have been better – .9 for the ending making the beginning seem like a bit of a cheat = 6.3