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The Lady Confesses

Posted by martinteller on November 30, 2012

“Why don’t people get murdered at a respectable hour?”

Larry Craig (Hugh Beaumont) and Vicki McGuire (Mary Beth Hughes) have been waiting a long time to get married.  Larry separated from his first wife Norma (Barbara Slater) seven years ago, and she disappeared soon after.  She suddenly pops up again to warn Vicki that she won’t let Larry go.  A few hours later, she’s found strangled to death.  Vicki’s alibi is shaky, but Larry was seen drunk at the 711 Club all night and has witnesses to prove it… except the club owner Lucky Brandon (Edmund MacDonald), who suspiciously denies having seen him that night.  Vicki, in an effort to help detective Brown (Emmett Vogan) get to the bottom of this, goes undercover at the club.  What is Brandon up to, what exactly is his history with Norma, and does the singer Lucille (Claudia Drake) know more than she’s telling?

Another quickie today, a tight little murder mystery at just over an hour.  It feels pretty routine for the most part, although it does have a surprise that I should have seen coming, but didn’t.  The film barely squeaks into the “good” range based on two factors.  One, Hughes.  Even in a relatively flat role like this, she manages to cook up some screen presence.  I’ve seen her before only in small but memorable roles, it was nice to see her take the spotlight (though I’m more looking forward to checking out The Great Flamarion, which looks like a more interesting film in general).  Her character isn’t drawn well, but she fills it out anyway.

The other saving grace is Jack Greenhalgh’s rich photography.  There’s a lot of smart camera movement and gorgeous deep shadows, lending this Poverty Row production a bit of class.  He imbues the film with noir style, even though the story itself doesn’t have much of a noir attitude.

Otherwise, it’s basically forgettable yet enjoyable.  Beaumont seems bland at first but his character has some nice developments.  MacDonald once again playing the tough (as he did in the movie I watched prior to this, They Made Me a Killer) and doing a decent job of it.  Drake gets to sing a few okay numbers.  It’s all fine, just nothing that special.  Good for a quick dose of entertainment.  Rating: Good (70)

IMDb
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