Thursday, March 3, 2016
Lee Warren (Eric Portman of Daybreak) discovers that his wife, Vivian (Greta Gynt of The Hooded Terror), has taken a lover, Richard (Dennis Price of She Played with Fire) while he is away for months on business. Warren concocts a clever scheme to do away with his love rival, but there are numerous complications, including the fact that apparently Vivien had already moved on from Richard to new boyfriend, Jimmy (Maxwell Reed, who also appeared with Portman in Daybreak). With one lover dead and another accused of murder, what is Vivien to do? Meanwhile Lee plays cat and mouse with police Inspector Penbury (Jack Warner). Dear Murderer is based on a play, but it is neither stage-bound nor opened up too unrealistically, and the movie has real suspense. The acting is excellent from all, although one can't help but wonder what the picture might have been like had Vivien been played by a perhaps more interesting actress such as Bette Davis or Linda Darnell. Hazel Court is cast as the murdered Richard's sister, Avis, and she is fine. There is a strange moment when Lee is about to confront his wife in the bedroom not long after he returns from his business trip, but the movie cuts away to the next scene at the crucial spot. The picture has a nice score by Ben Frankel and a very satisfying wind-up.
Verdict: Some pleasant company spent with a murderer. ***.