One of the best thrillers I've ever seen. One scene encapsulates the essence of this nerve-racking, diabolically crafted film: Ella Raines, all thin and delicate, follows a crook through dangerous dark alleys, wearing high heels and holding nothing but her purse, yet her eyes glaring with a killer determination that almost makes us believe that the crook is the one who's in danger.
A remarkable little thriller. Ella Raines has a hell of a screen presence. The fascination of this movie is that it's not suspense driven. Its mode is to give away the secret so you can stop wondering about plot and start wondering about what goes on behind people's faces.
Mystery/crime movie, not a Film Noir. It's evident that some scenes are poorly written and are typically B movies stamped but, on the other hand, there are also scenes worthy to stay in our memory like the compulsive jazz scene with Elisha Cook Jr. and nearly all the scenes with Franchot Tone. Tone in his bed is a modern Nosferatu. Recommended.
As Caligari and the murderer of M, psychology is a twisted effect that mirrors the film's soul, its form, and like Nosferatu, it's by the light that the killer gets wounded. The "Caligarism" in a perfect assumption of its aesthetics and themes, with two prodigious and absolutely cinematic sequences: the chase to the bartender at night and the jazz jam-session, this one particularly unparalleled.
Masterpiece. It is so modern... Two scenes left me wordless: the jam session sequence (the editing is so sensual and feverish) and the sequence in which the detective and the killer talk about the madness of the murderer (the mirrors break the image of the killer, conveying his insanity).
[Spoilers] Possibly the single biggest influence on gialli movies, but this is eminently worth watching in its own right. Gripping and taut, its hep jazz and insinuations of sex, violence and madness (spotlight on Franchot Tone's hands!) continue to make it fascinating.
There is a fine line between good noir and bad noir and that line is often breached on the heels of the casting, acting and chemistry of the film's characters. Phantom Lady has the worst acting I have ever seen from such a highly rated noir (MUBI, IMDb, Amazon, et al.).
The noirish dream of a woman who pines for her boss. People appear and bloodily disappear to realign matters in her favor, though at one point the artifice of her fevered construction threatens to consume her as well. Then again, being trapped in her blatantly theatrical set with her concocted killer is almost less troubling than the happy ending that crackle on repeat in a runoff groove.
Clunky dialogue and plot holes aside, this is a noir that needs to be seen by all enthusiasts. Not only is it visually interesting, but it allows you to see the first full-fledged noir from a director who would shortly thereafter emerge as one of the preeminent directors of noir. When viewed as a warm-up for the great things that he would do two years later, it is also an intriguing historical document.