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Phantom Lady

USA 1944. Dir: Robert Siodmak. 87 min. 35mm

35mm PRINT! | High-heeled “hep kitten” Ella Raines combs New York City’s shadowy streets and seedy bars in a race against time to save her employer from the electric chair in Robert Siodmak’s suspenseful, stylish thriller, shot in the moody Expressionist manner. Raines’s boss (Alan Curtis) has been convicted of murdering his wife; the very existence of his only alibi, a mysterious woman in a flamboyant hat, is denied by every witness. Siodmak, the German expat who also made Criss Cross and The Killers, is one of noir’s key talents. So too is oft-adapted pulp author Cornell Woolrich, who penned the source novel (writing as William Irish) on which Phantom Lady was based. A steamy, sexually-charged jazz sequence involving Raines and, on drums, Elisha Cook Jr., still amazes.


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REVIEWS

"Shows nothing of New York and yet captures its essence by way of artifices that reveal profound and disturbing psychological truths about life in the city."

New Yorker | full review

"Channeling the spirit of the Russians (Eisenstein, Dovshenko, Vertov), the director uses grotesque angles, close-ups, and rhythms to suggest a powerful sense of seduction and torture."

Slant | full review

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August 19


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