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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Unsuspected (1947)

A popular radio personality (Claude Rains) specializing in murder stories kills his secretary (Barbara Wooddell) and makes it look like a suicide. But when a stranger (Ted North) turns up claiming to be the husband of Rains' dead niece, things take a dangerous turn ... especially when the niece (Joan Caulfield) turns up alive and doesn't recognize her alleged husband. And how are these events connected with the secretary's murder? Michael Curtiz directs this stylish noir-ish mystery based on the Charlotte Armstrong novel and if the ghost of LAURA seems to hover over it, it stands admirably on its own. Since we know immediately who the killer is, it's not a whodunit, the suspense comes from when and how he'll be found out. The film's only flaw is in the casting of the dull Ted North (billed as Michael North here) in a central role in what would turn out to be his last film. The moody score is by Franz Waxman. The sterling supporting cast includes Constance Bennett as Rains' wisecracking secretary, Audrey Totter, Hurd Hatfield (PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY), Fred Clark and Jack Lambert.

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