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Noir-vember 2015: No Man’s Woman

Posted by martinteller on November 12, 2015

Carolyn Grant (Marie Windsor) owns an art gallery. A lot of people would like to see her dead. First there’s her husband Harlow (John Archer). They’ve been separated for two years, but Carolyn won’t grant him a divorce unless he pays an exorbitant settlement. Then there’s Louise (Nancy Gates), the woman Harlow wants to marry, and Harlow’s father (Douglas Wood), who can’t stand to see his son’s happiness being held captive. Not to mention Carolyn’s assistant Betty Allen (Jil Jarmyn) and her beau Dick Sawyer (Richard Crane), who have been torn apart by Carolyn’s eff0rts to seduce Dick. And don’t forget Wayne Vincent (Patric Knowles), the art critic who she’s been dating, but only to use him for the free publicity. Yeah, a lot of people would like to see Carolyn Grant dead. So who killed her?

I guess you can call that a spoiler, since the murder happens more than halfway through the 69-minute film. But it’s given away by the few other reviews on the internet and pretty much by the film’s own poster. Besides, once the killing occurs, you could probably shut the movie off. All the best stuff is Windsor being awful and manipulative. It’s similar to (but not as fantastic as) her role in The Killing, a real snake of a woman. As a Marie Windsor fan, I lapped it up.

Unfortunately, after that it becomes a ho-hum whodunit, with Archer taking on the role of detective… doing the work that you’d think the cops would be doing, but they seem content to let him do all the footwork. The answer to the mystery is neither satisfying nor unsatisfying. It just is what it is, and who cares because the one great character is gone. None of the technical aspects are worth mentioning, and for noir atmosphere there’s not much to chew on. Almost every scene takes place in bright sunshine or a well-lit interior. There’s some good dialogue, but it dries up once Carolyn is out of the picture. Rating: Fair (62)


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