Phantom Lady (1944)

85 mins | Mystery | 28 January 1944

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HISTORY

Phantom Lady marked the first producing credit for Joan Harrison, formerly a screenwriter on several films for director Alfred Hitchcock. Harrison later went on to produce Hitchcock's television series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents . Contemporary sources indicate that Dave Coleman dubbed Elisha Cook's erotic drum solo. A HR news item reveals that songwriters Eddie Cherkose and Jacques Press filed suit against Universal for $20,000 in Jul 1944 for not giving them screen credit for their song "Chick-ee-Chick," which was sung in the film by Aurora. The disposition of the suit has not been determined. On 27 Mar 1944, Ella Raines and Alan Curtis recreated their roles as "Carol" and "Scott," with Brian Aherne taking the role of "Jack" on a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of Phantom Lady ... More Less

Phantom Lady marked the first producing credit for Joan Harrison, formerly a screenwriter on several films for director Alfred Hitchcock. Harrison later went on to produce Hitchcock's television series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents . Contemporary sources indicate that Dave Coleman dubbed Elisha Cook's erotic drum solo. A HR news item reveals that songwriters Eddie Cherkose and Jacques Press filed suit against Universal for $20,000 in Jul 1944 for not giving them screen credit for their song "Chick-ee-Chick," which was sung in the film by Aurora. The disposition of the suit has not been determined. On 27 Mar 1944, Ella Raines and Alan Curtis recreated their roles as "Carol" and "Scott," with Brian Aherne taking the role of "Jack" on a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of Phantom Lady . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Feb 1944.
---
Daily Variety
21 Jan 44
p. 3, 8
Down Beat
1 Apr 44
p. 7.
Film Daily
26 Jan 44
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 43
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 43
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 1944.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jul 44
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 Jan 44
p. 1733.
New York Times
18 Feb 44
p. 15.
Variety
26 Jan 44
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
"Phantom Hat" created by
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus numbers staged by
SOUND
Dir of sd
[Sd] Tech
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on novel The Phantom Lady by William Irish (Philadelphia, 1942).
SONGS
"Chick-ee-Chick," words and music by Eddie Cherkose and Jacques Press.
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 January 1944
Production Date:
mid September--late October 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
7 February 1944
Copyright Number:
LP12505
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
85
Length(in feet):
7,805
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9827
SYNOPSIS

At Anselmo's bar in New York, Scott Henderson sits dejectedly next to an equally despondent woman wearing a distinctive hat. Scott offers the woman tickets to a musical show that he cannot use, but she is not interested until Scott asks if she would like to accompany him to the show. Impulsively she agrees, on the condition that they do not exchange any personal information and just enjoy the evening together. At the show, Scott and the woman sit near the front, where the woman attracts the eye of the orchestra drummer and singer Estela Monteiro, who is furious that the woman's hat matches her own. After the show, Scott escorts the woman back to the bar and they part amicably. Upon returning to his apartment, Scott is greeted by by police Inspector Burgess, who informs him that Scott's wife Marcela has been strangled to death with one of Scott's ties. Shocked, Scott describes the evening, which began when Scott quarreled with his wife because she refused to go out with him to celebrate their anniversary. When he mentions the woman with the unique hat, the police grow skeptical, and Scott is taken to headquarters for further questioning. The next day at Scott's office, his secretary, Carol Richman, reads about Marcela's murder in the newspaper and struggles to get through the regular business of the day. Meanwhile, Scott retraces his actions of the night before with Burgess, going to Anselmo's, where the bartender vaguely recognizes Scott, but cannot recall the woman in the hat. Scott and Burgess also question the cab driver who drove them to the show, the orchestra drummer and ... +


At Anselmo's bar in New York, Scott Henderson sits dejectedly next to an equally despondent woman wearing a distinctive hat. Scott offers the woman tickets to a musical show that he cannot use, but she is not interested until Scott asks if she would like to accompany him to the show. Impulsively she agrees, on the condition that they do not exchange any personal information and just enjoy the evening together. At the show, Scott and the woman sit near the front, where the woman attracts the eye of the orchestra drummer and singer Estela Monteiro, who is furious that the woman's hat matches her own. After the show, Scott escorts the woman back to the bar and they part amicably. Upon returning to his apartment, Scott is greeted by by police Inspector Burgess, who informs him that Scott's wife Marcela has been strangled to death with one of Scott's ties. Shocked, Scott describes the evening, which began when Scott quarreled with his wife because she refused to go out with him to celebrate their anniversary. When he mentions the woman with the unique hat, the police grow skeptical, and Scott is taken to headquarters for further questioning. The next day at Scott's office, his secretary, Carol Richman, reads about Marcela's murder in the newspaper and struggles to get through the regular business of the day. Meanwhile, Scott retraces his actions of the night before with Burgess, going to Anselmo's, where the bartender vaguely recognizes Scott, but cannot recall the woman in the hat. Scott and Burgess also question the cab driver who drove them to the show, the orchestra drummer and the singer, Estela, but no one claims to remember the woman. Scott is arrested and during his trial his repeated assertions about the mysterious woman are not believed and he is found guilty of murdering Marcela. Stunned, Carol visits Scott in jail and the two speculate about why the publicity of the trial did not bring the mystery woman forth. Confident Scott has told the truth, Carol goes to Anselmo's bar, hoping to provoke the bartender into changing his testimony. After three evenings at the bar, Carol follows the bartender and confronts him outside a subway station. Under pressure, he admits he received money not to talk, but before he can be more specific, he panics and darts away, only to be hit by a car and seriously injured. Feeling guilty and distraught, Carol returns to her apartment and finds Burgess, who tells her that he believes Scott is innocent and wants to unofficially help her locate the phantom woman. The next night Carol attends the music hall show, dressed in gaudy and suggestive attire, which attracts the attention of the orchestra drummer, Cliff. After the show Carol, calling herself Jeannie, meets Cliff backstage and goes with him to a small club, where he briefly sits in on a jazz jam session before taking her to his apartment. Carol steers the conversation around to money, and Cliff boasts that he recently received five hundred dollars from a man for not identifying a particular "dame." When Carol, struggling against Cliff's amorous advances, tries to get more information, her purse is knocked over and police papers on the drummer which Burgess had provided her spill out. Alarmed, Cliff scuffles with Carol, who breaks away and runs down to the street, where she telephones Burgess from a nearby shop. Unknown to Carol, a man has gone into Cliff's apartment and after threatening him, strangles him. Later, when Burgess arrives with a warrant, he and Carol find Cliff dead. Shortly afterward, Carol visits Scott in jail again and discovers his appeal has been denied. As they sit considering their options, Cliff's killer, Jack Marlow, who is Scott's best friend, arrives. Claiming to have come back from South America when he heard about Scott's misfortune, Jack offers to help and Scott and Carol gratefully accept. Jack accompanies Carol and Burgess to see Estela and, unknown to them, arranges to have the singer leave town the next day. Burgess later tells Jack he believes the killer is paranoid and insane, which irritates Jack, then brings on a dizzy spell and collapse. While Burgess is called out of town working another case, Carol tries in vain to see Estela, but instead discovers the singer's luggage being removed from her hotel. Carol notices a hat box and, taking down the milliner's address, goes to the hat shop, where an assistant designer confesses to copying Estela's hat for a wealthy Long Island client, Ann Terry. Carol enthusiastically tells Jack about Ann, and he drives her out to Long Island. There Carol discovers that Ann suffered a nervous breakdown after her fiancé's accidental death. Carol falters when she realizes Ann is too emotionally fragile to question, and leaves without asking about her evening with Scott. On the drive back, Carol asks to phone Burgess and Jack pretends to make an arrangement for them all to meet later at his apartment. At Jack's place, Carol frets about her inability to help Scott and is bitter about the murderer. Jack develops a headache and lies down while Carol goes to freshen up. In Jack's bedroom, she discovers the handbag she left behind at Cliff's and realizes with horror that Jack is the murderer. She tries phoning Burgess, but is interrupted by Jack. In the living room Jack reveals that he and Marcela had been involved and she had callously refused to run away with him, forcing him to kill her and frame Scott. Jack is about to attack Carol, when the doorbell rings, and she screams for help. Burgess breaks the door in and Carol runs to him, while Jack throws himself out the window to his death. After Scott is released from jail, he and Carol plan their future together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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