“The man who gets the killer lands the job.”
When media magnate Amos Kyne (Robert Warwick) dies, his spoiled son and heir (Vincent Price) offers to promote whichever one of three ambitious newspaper men — George Sanders, Thomas Mitchell, or James Craig — can break a story about a recent rash of murders sweeping the city. Meanwhile, tippling journalist Ed Mobley (Dana Andrews) helps his friend Griffith (Mitchell) try to solve the case, while simultaneously trying to convince his no-nonsense girlfriend (Sally Forrest) to marry him; Kritzer (Craig) is having an affair with Price’s leggy wife (Rhonda Fleming); Loving (Sanders) asks his co-worker and paramour Mildred (Ida Lupino) to help him rise to the top; and the psychotic murderer (John Barrymore, Jr.) keeps killing young women in their apartments.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Dana Andrews Films
- Fritz Lang Films
- George Sanders Films
- Ida Lupino Films
- Murder Mystery
- Serial Killers
- Thomas Mitchell Films
- Vincent Price Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary refers to this all-star melodrama — Fritz Lang’s final American film, and purportedly a personal favorite — as “silly but diverting”, which just about sums it up. There isn’t much substance to the tale — essentially a trussed up sex soaper with a serial-killer search as a backdrop (Peary argues “the simple case should take about one minute to solve”) — but it’s enjoyable watching cinematic favorites such as Vincent Price:
Ida Lupino, George Sanders:
… Dana Andrews (constantly drinking, as in real life):
… Thomas Mitchell:
… and others working together in one flick. Also of interest is John Barrymore, Jr. (Drew’s troubled dad) in what was perhaps his best-known minor role, playing a whacked-out Mama’s-boy killer in black leather gloves — he’s no great actor, but very convincing in the part.
Note: Peary adds that this “film has [the] distinction of having [the] most alcohol consumed by characters since The Lost Weekend” — and while I doubt a formal tally has been done, I’ll admit to noticing glasses in hand time and again while perusing the film for stills.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- The all-star ensemble cast
- John Barrymore, Jr. (Drew’s father!) as the Lipstick Killer
No, but it’s recommended for one-time viewing.