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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Phantom Lady (1944)



Reviews and Comments

The early stages of Phantom Lady don't look promising -- the acting is poor, and the premise of this noirish mystery, while somewhat promising, is a bit too obvious in its mechanics. But once the murder is discovered, the wrong man accused, and his secretary sets about proving his innocence, the movie makes up for lost time, due mostly to Richard Siodmak's stylistic staging. There's a lot of harsh tones in the cinematography, for instance. What isn't shadowy is glaring, so that the film isn't relentlessly brooding, but the sunny spots aren't at all comforting, either. There's a nagging sense of lurking evil and depravation hanging around the corners, most evident when the heroine follows a drummer home in hopes of gaining some information.

This isn't an outstanding example of the dark mystery stories from the forties. In terms of story, it's no worse (but probably no better) than the norm. But the film wins points for its moody style. Fans of the genre should enjoy it.