Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

THE UNSUSPECTED


THE UNSUSPECTED (1947). Director: Michael Curtiz.

"I detest scenes not of my own making."

Roslyn, the secretary of radio star Victor Grandison (Claude Rains), who narrates tales of mystery and the macabre, is found hanging in the study, apparently the victim of a suicide. Meanwhile, Grandison's niece, Matilda (Joan Caulfield), who was supposedly lost at sea, shows up alive and well, as does Steven Howard (Michael/Ted North), a man she doesn't remember who claims he's her husband. Other members of this strange household include another viperish niece, Althea (Audrey Totter), her husband Oliver (Hurd Hatfield), whom she stole away from Matilda, and snappy assistant Jane (Constance Bennett), not to mention Press (Jack Lambert) a hooligan employed by Grandison. Based on a novel by Charlotte Armstrong, this seems an odd fit for director Curtiz (despite his work on such films as Mildred Pierce) and while it holds the attention and has a fairly exciting finale, otherwise it never quite comes alive. Nice work by Claude Rains (although he seems less inspired by this material than he was in, say, Deception). Audrey Totter is vivid, as usual, as is Constance Bennett. Caulfield is just okay, mo more.

Verdict: Okay suspenser. **1/2.

No comments: