Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price
Mark: I must say, for a charming, intelligent girl, you’ve certainly surrounded yourself with a remarkable collection of dopes.
Detective Mark McPherson (Andrews) is investigating the murder of a young woman named Laura Hunt (Tierney). As he interviews everyone who knew her, he begins to discover that they all have their own secrets and surprises, including the dead girl herself.
This is a talky whodunit that kept me guessing right up until the end, even if it did drag a bit here and there. Detective McPherson is the kind of calm-headed, but fast talking, detective that’s always needed to solve such a mystery. He and Waldo Lydecker (Webb) – a pompous writer who fell under the innocent charms of Laura Hunt – have some good verbal back-and-forths. Vincent Price seems almost too creepy to play the ladies man he’s cast as here, but maybe I’m just judging him by his future roles.
As I mentioned, there are some slow sections where not much happens, but for the most part, the clues come at a fast enough pace to keep the viewer interested. It maybe could have used a touch more energy and style, but it still works for what it is.
I thought that maybe they threw a few too many red herrings at us, though, to the point that it was almost frustrating at times. Everybody is a suspect, then they seem to clear their name, then some other clue crops up to make them a suspect again. I may have felt a slight bit of impatience with it by the end, but finally everything is revealed in a satisfactory manner.
If you’ve got the patience for it, it’s a good little mystery with a lovely leading lady and an early Vincent Price appearance where he looks young, but still a bit on the creepy side.
MAN people smoked a lot in old movies…
10 – 2 for some dull, meandering sections – .4 for a few too many diversions = 7.6