Thursday, April 7, 2011
PLEASE MURDER ME
PLEASE MURDER ME (1956). Director: Peter Godfrey.
Attorney Craig Carlson (Raymond Burr) and Myra Leeds (Angela Lansbury), the wife of his best friend Joe (Dick Foran), who saved his life during the war, have fallen in love. When Joe finds out about it Myra claims that he attacked her in a rage and she had to shoot him in self-defense. In a highly unlikely if not ludicrous [albeit intriguing] scenario, her lover Carlson defends her against a murder charge in court, leading to a number of interesting complications. Despite its improbable aspects, Please Murder Me is absorbing and features two terrific lead performances from Burr and Lansbury. Foran is solid as ever as the husband, and Lamont Johnson is appealing as a likable struggling painter. [As an actor, Johnson appeared mostly in TV shows; he later became a successful director.] John Dehner does his usual fine job as the D.A. prosecuting the case. Please Murder Me could he seen as Burr's feature-length audition for Perry Mason as he was cast in his most famous role the following year.
Verdict: Minor perhaps but with some sterling performances and vivid moments. ***.