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Midnight Lace (1960)

Not the most adroit of screen mysteries, Midnight Lace might be better titled, "Red Herrings A Go-Go". The movie is ninety minutes of poor Doris Day persecuted by a villain or villains unknown, while we meet a bumper crop of suspects. Story elements from Gaslight are thrown into the soup, as well as big helpings of Diabolique and Dial M for Murder. All three movies concern helpless women victimized by their husbands, but this film's guessing-game format leaves all possibilities open. Rex Harrison's cultured businessman is of course high on the suspects list. Cop John Williams and menacing creep Anthony Dawson remind us strongly of Hitchcock's classic Dial M for Murder. As the tall, bland and handsome hunk on the scaffolding next door, John Gavin is positioned as a potentially psychotic killer. When Doris Day's Kit is trapped in an elevator Brian comes to the rescue. Or did he cause the elevator to stall in the first place? Midnight Lace was released a few months after Hitchcock's Psycho. If we want to keep playing comparison games, the claustrophobic elevator car isn't much different than Hitchcock's confining shower stall.

Midnight Lace (1960)

Doris Day stars in the thriller MIDNIGHT LACE (1960), recently released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber.Regular readers know how much I adore the late singer-actress, but this suspense film has lingered on my "to watch" list for many years. I think perhaps I was a tad nervous about how scary it would be, and I had also read that Doris channeled unhappy marital memories as inspiration for her emotional performance, which made me feel sad for her. That said, I was glad to finally catch up with this stylish Universal Pictures film thanks to Kino Lorber. It has a great cast, including Myrna Loy and John Williams, who plays a Scotland Yard inspector just as he did in DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954). I quite enjoyed MIDNIGHT LACE.Doris plays Kit Preston, an American who has recently wed British financier Tony Preston (Rex Harrison). One foggy day as Kit leaves the American embassy in London and walks home in the fog, she hears a strange voice threatening her. She's terrified, but Tony convinces her it was a prankster.Then the threatening phone calls start, and Kit and Tony pay a visit to Inspector Byrnes (Williams) at Scotland Yard, who has no definitive ideas but lends a sympathetic ear.As time goes on, Kit's visiting Aunt Bea (Myrna Loy) and Tony are less and less certain of Kit's sanity. Kit, meanwhile, suspects every man she meets, except perhaps for the charming young contractor named Brian (John Gavin) who rescues her from a falling beam and later comes to help when a strange man visits her flat.Is Kit losing her mind, or is she really in danger?I guessed who the culprit was early on, but not the motivation(s), which came as a surprise. It's a pretty well-constructed plot, if more than a bit unbelievable at times; for instance, how did anyone know in advance that Kit would be walking through a foggy park and have recordings ready to threaten her?This GASLIGHT-type tale of a perfectly sane woman starting to go crazy when no one believes what she's experiencing is very well done. Day is never less than excellent, Harrison is debonair, and Myrna Loy is...Myrna Loy. In other words, Loy is perfect. When she enters the film it's as though there's a fresh breeze, and the viewer immediately feels less concerned for Kit. Even when she comes to doubt Kit, Bea is so sharp that one feels she'll figure out what's going on eventually.And John Williams as a police detective is one of those things that's movie perfection. He's always smart and ahead of the game figuring things out. The way he's tipped off to the culprit is quite clever.There are many more great faces in the cast, including Herbert Marshall, Richard Ney (MRS. MINIVER), Hayden Rorke, Hermione Baddeley, Doris Lloyd, Natasha Parry, and Roddy McDowall.The movie is, in the end, really rather sad, but there's also hope for the future in the final moments. The support Kit receives from those who truly love her reassures the viewer that all will be well for her.MIDNIGHT LACE was directed by David Miller, who interestingly enough directed one of the greatest previous "wives in peril" films, SUDDEN FEAR (1952), which I just saw for the first time earlier this year.The movie was attractively filmed in Eastman Color by Russell Metty. It runs 103 minutes.The very good-looking Blu-ray includes a choice of two aspect ratios, 2.0 or 1.78. I did a bit of Googling trying to figure out which one to watch and chose the 2.0 based on comments at DVD Beaver. The picture and soundtrack are both very good.The disc also includes a commentary track by Kat Ellinger, the trailer, and a trailer gallery for five additional films available from Kino Lorber.Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.

Aiding the present madness is the solid direction of David Miller and some claustrophobic cinematography by Russell Metty. Most of the picture takes place in one apartment, one where the building is under construction and one with neighbours both friendly and unsettling. It is dark and stuffy for the most part and when those phone calls come in, they shatter the silence lending towards that tense atmosphere. With Rex Harrison and Roddy MacDowall among the supporting cast, one her husband who seems supporting but doubtful and the other as a leech and a lech; it is no wonder that Kit feels as if there is nowhere to turn and that her home feels like a prison. As far as villains go, there is a nice twist later in the picture because it is not who you think it might be. Perhaps it was too obvious a red herring, but when the reveal is made, it all makes sense in the end.

Doris Day, as an American married to an Englishman, is being terrorized in "Midnight Lace," also starring Rex Harrison, Myrna Loy, Roddy Mcdowall, and John Gavin. A scary voice speaks in the fog and calls her up on the phone - but she can't get anyone to believe her, even her beloved aunt (Loy) who wants to help but has her suspicions about her niece's mental health. The "midnight lace" is a neat title that refers to some sexy pajamas Kit (Day) buys for her Venetian trip with her husband (Harrison).The film is based on a play, "Matilda Cried Fire" and probably owes part of its plot to "Dial M for Murder," which was also a play and made into a film by Hitchcock. John Williams is on hand in this film as in "Dial M" as a police inspector.Unlike "Dial M for Murder," the film abounds with red herrings, so there are plenty of suspects. Roddy Mcdowall is the slimy son of Kit's housekeeper, and John Gavin is an attractive man who at one point comes to her rescue. There's also her neighbor, Peggy (Natasha Thompson). The acting is very good, the biggest and most dramatic role belonging to Day. Few people have enjoyed the variety of career that Day did. A wholesome-looking singer and vivacious actress, she was in in films from 1948. When she was in her late thirties, producer Ross Hunter took advantage of her prettiness and beautiful figure and moved her into glamor roles, making her the #1 box office star. If she's a little over the top in spots here, it's more the material than the actress, and she creates a very sympathetic and likable character. Loy, at 55, is beautiful and sexy. Harrison doesn't have a great deal to do, and Gavin is - well, Gavin, very handsome and charming. Herbert Marshall is part of the cast as well, and along with McDowall, Williams, and Thompson, make up a strong supporting cast.This movie isn't as good as some others of the same type, but it is very enjoyable and well produced. One of those great Sunday afternoon movies.Some trivia: A poster mentions that Harrison was distracted during the film because of the death of his wife, Kay Kendall. He was also distracted by the fact that he and Roddy McDowell had done a play together, for which McDowell had won a Tony. The elevator scene where they are all in the elevator together took a while to film so they were all stuck in a small space. McDowell said something and Harrison said, "Yes, and you can stick that Tony up your a** too."

Bu görüntü değerli görüntü kriterleri kapsamında değerlendirilmiştir ve Commons'da kapsamında çok değerli görüntü olarak kabul edilir: Doris Day. Görüntünün kendi adaylığını buradan görebilirsiniz: Commons:Valued image candidates/Day-midnightlace.jpg.

The Melodrama Research Group is busy working on several events: a screening of Midnight Lace (1960) in September, a forthcoming Symposium, a Festival, a Trip and is looking into Publishing Opportunities. 041b061a72


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