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Loosely based on Patrick Hamilton's novel, this is a slightly self-conscious attempt to repeat the success of The Lodger, immensely stylish in its evocation of Edwardian London but failing to reproduce quite the same sense of subtle psychological nightmare. Playing a composer driven to murderous blackouts by discordant sounds (a fine cue for Bernard Herrmann's score), Cregar - in his last film - again gives a superbly ambivalent performance; and Darnell is terrific as the scheming chanteuse who seduces him into prostituting his talent to supply her with popular songs. But with the script using histrionics to patch its holes, Brahm is sometimes forced to respond with Grand Guignol excesses like the climax, which provides flaming apotheosis in the concert hall for the composer and his finally-completed concerto; pitched on a far too hysterical and grandiose note, this finale never quite rhymes, as it should, with the superb earlier sequence in which Cregar, anonymous in the crowd of Guy Fawkes celebrants, casually consigns Darnell's body to a bonfire.

Release details

Duration: 78 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Brahm
Screenwriter: Barre Lyndon
Cast: Faye Marlowe
Laird Cregar
Glenn Langan
Linda Darnell
George Sanders
Alan Napier
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