Release Date: March, 1956
Directed by: Peter Godfrey
Written by: Donald Hyde, Al C. Ward, David T. Chantler, Ewald Andre Dupont
Music by: Albert Glasser
Cast: Angela Lansbury, Raymond Burr, Dick Foran
Distributor Corporation of America, 78 Minutes
The thought of Angela Lansbury and Raymond Burr in the same film is pretty cool. The fact that this happened, was even cooler.
However, this wasn’t a Perry Mason and Jessica Fletcher team up movie for television in the 1980s, it was a film noir from the 1950s that uncharacteristically used Lansbury as a murderess.
The first half of this movie feels like a Perry Mason episode, as it is a courtroom drama. However, this came out a year before Burr reached super stardom with that show. Regardless, the first half of the picture really slows this thing down to a crawl and is a lot less interesting than the second half, where the real noir elements start. Hopefully, you aren’t trapped in a slumber, by this point.
The story sees Burr’s lawyer character fall for a murder suspect, his client played by Lansbury. She is accused of murdering her husband, which she did, but Burr believes she is innocent and gets her off. Later discovering that she did indeed kill her husband, Burr feels tremendous guilt. He then decides to trick her into murdering him, so that he can record her in the act and absolve his guilt.
The story is interesting but it takes too long to get going and when it starts to get good, you’re already exhausted from the courtroom stuff. Full disclosure, courtroom dramas typically bore the piss out of me so this might not effect others the same way.
Burr and Lansbury were both good in this but the film itself isn’t worthy of their talents. It is dry and uneventful, at least until the rushed second half, but even then, the shocking finale feels hollow.
This is still worth checking out if you like both of the leads and are a fan of b-movie noir.