Roy William Neill/ USA/ 1946/ 83 mins
Marty (Dan Duryea) is a jazz composer/pianist who is estranged from his singer wife Mavis (Constance Dowling). When she is found strangled in her fancy apartment suspicion falls on the booze-sodden hubby. Meantime Kirk (John Phillips) who was being blackmailed by Mavis over their affair is also in the frame though his wife Catherine (June Vincent) refuses to believe it. With Kirk on death row she and Marty decide to sort things out by going undercover and becoming a Hollywood nightclub act at Rio’s.
The club’s shady proprietor Marko (Peter Lorre, another one of his roles where he plays the creepy, lisping bully) holds the key especially if Marty and Catherine can locate a glamorous brooch that has disappeared from the murder scene. All the while they have to outfox the police chief (Broderick Crawford).
This minor film noir is notable for its creative use of its small budget. Early on is an odd shot where the camera seems to leap up off the ground and travel in through a window several floors up. The twists and turns in the plot are fun to work out and even though some of the acting is a tad creaky the film is full of suspense. And there’s two great central performances from Duryea and Lorre.
The fine cinematography is by Paul Ivano and there’s some imaginative sets: the glass walls and sweeping staircase of the club and Marko’s deco office.