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Phantom Lady [VHS] (1944)

Franchot Tone , Ella Raines , Robert Siodmak  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Franchot Tone, Ella Raines, Alan Curtis, Aurora Miranda, Thomas Gomez
  • Directors: Robert Siodmak
  • Writers: Bernard C. Schoenfeld, Cornell Woolrich
  • Producers: Joan Harrison
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English, Portuguese
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Universal Pictures
  • VHS Release Date: April 28, 1998
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0783224583
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,138 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ella Raines Shines In Phantom Lady June 17, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Phantom Lady may have been overshadowed in 1944 by the release of the two classic noir films; Double Indemnity and Laura, yet Robert Siodmak's psychological thriller still maintains an acknowledged position among the genre. Siodmak lures viewers through rain slicked streets, back alley jazz clubs, and post midnight rendezvous. Adapted from a Cornell Woolrich novel, Phantom Lady is similar to Wollrich's later work Black Angel, in that a man (Alan Curtis) is wrongfully accused of murder, sentenced to death and can only depend on his secretary ( Ella Raines) who desperately searches for the only alibi (the phantom lady) that can exonerate him. Franchot Tone recieves top billing as a psychopathic socialite with twitching hands, but it is twenty-three year old Ella Raines who deservedly steals the spotlight . As Carol "Kansas" Richman, she seduces simple minded Elisha Cook Jr., an orchestra drummer, during one of his performances. In a classic cat & mouse sequence, she trails an uncooperative bartender through Siodmak's darkened urban landscape. The sequence is highlighted with images and sounds of elevated subway cars, city taxi cabs, and amplified footsteps against wet black-tops. Siodmak created a five minute symphonic masterpiece that captured the essence of urban trepidation. The other eighty-two minutes should also please most noir aficionados.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quintessential Forties film noir. January 14, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Not the best known of grim film noirs of the Forties, but one of the best. Ella Raines is very impressive as a woman who risks all to prove her employer is innocent of the murder for which he has been convicted. Her assuming of false personas (which may even briefly fool the audience) make it surprising that her performance in this film is not better known. The purely visual sexual suggestiveness in the jazz joint scene with Elisha Cook is hot stuff, and you will be amazed that Hollywood could have gotten away with it in the Forties. The excellent photography (black & white, of course) captures that grim urban atmosphere perfectly. Anyone who tries to colorize this film should be punished! The climactic revelation is highly suspenseful, and the happy ending is quite atypical of such films. Don't miss this one.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth seeing several times. September 10, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
A good hardbitten yarn, with effective use of shadows and night time backdrops. The scenes in which the female protagonist tails the bar-keeper through the subways and streets of New York are impressively eerie. The same peaches and cream protagonist then dresses up as an uncanny floozie---you can almost smell her cheap perfume through the VCR. The jazz drum scene involving peaches and cream/floozie and Elisha Cook Jr is high charged sex in a thinly veiled, naughty noir way. (It is far more erotic than the more explicit sex one sees in contemporary films.) The psychopath behind the intrigue is frightening and believeable. This is a great flick.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great adaption from Woolrich July 4, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Cornell Woolrich is the unsung hero of this and many other films. His little stories bashed out at a tremendous speed simply make great films. Hitchcock used Rear Window to create one of his best films. Other directors have used his stories to great effect. The recent Original Sin is the latest in a very long and distinguished list.
With a great story line of a man sitting on death row while his friends race to find evidence of his innocence, Siodmak really produces the goods in this film. One sequence, in particular, the jazz jam session, is as close to a sex scene as film makers could go in those days. The scene alone puts this film in the master class. Great cinematography, some good acting and briliant direction add up to one of the best film noirs in circulation.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Luminous Noir Gem July 29, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
"Phantom Lady" falls into the tradition of great forties' noir films beginning with "The Maltese Falcon." German emigre director Robert Siodmak, who gave us two Burt Lancaster noir gems with "The Killers" and "Crisscross," executed a deft hand and used the camera to compelling advantage in displaying confinement on the one hand and closeups of characters immersed in states of great tension on the other.
Cornell Woolrich was a master storyteller of New York tales about people trapped within the clutches of the big city, battling tenaciously for survival. Woolrich gave us perhaps the number one voyeuristic film in cinema annals with Hitchcock's "Rear Window." His story thrust of "Phantom Lady" is one of a crafty and elegantly beautiful woman's determined efforts to prove that the man she loves is innocent of the charge of murder, for which he has been tried and convicted. Ella Raines operates with burning conviction and speedy determination as she battles the clock, which is ticking down toward the murder execution of the man she loves, played by Alan Curtis.
The "phantom lady" of the title is Fay Helm, who meets Curtis at a Manhattan bar. He is distraught over a wrong turn in his marriage and quickly learns that she is even more forlorn than himself. Curtis has an extra ticket to a hit Broadway musical and he is able to finally entice her to attend it with him. After that they part. When he returns to his apartment the police are there, revealing that Curtis's wife has been murdered by strangulation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Noir-ish Thriller, but Sporadic Brilliance Stymied by...
"Phantom Lady" (1944) was directed by Robert Siodmak, renowned for his considerable oeuvre of thrillers, based on the novel of the same name by Cornell Woolrich, known for his... Read more
Published 2 months ago by mirasreviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Saw it when I was a teen.
Published 3 months ago by Elwood S. Ott
5.0 out of 5 stars Phantom Lady on TCM DVD
PHANTOM LADY is a perfect example of the "noir" movies from the 1940s and '50s. Director Robert Siodmak made Cornell Woolrich's novel (written as "William Irish") into a stunning... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tom S.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Performance By Ella Rains.
It had great atmosphere.Ella Rains was sensational, very believable. A very underrated actress. It had an unusual plot because it was a case of a woman going out of her way to save... Read more
Published 10 months ago by john mcgowan
4.0 out of 5 stars universal studios stinks!
I have been waiting for this movie on dvd for years and years while it has already been released over seas.Now after a decade we can buy an american movie in the united states. Read more
Published 15 months ago by REDFIRE66
5.0 out of 5 stars Hands.... Hands.... Hands....
The movie is all about modernism, right up until its very last seconds when Ella Raines is at the other end of a dictaphone with a cord so long and shiny it looks like an octopus'... Read more
Published on January 13, 2012 by Kevin Killian
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Siodmak : one the most solid exponents of the Nooir genre!
Robert Siodmak was undoubtedly one of the most prominent directors of the Noir genre. As the previous reviewer said, "Laura" and "Double Indemnity" left aside this well rounded gem... Read more
Published on March 21, 2011 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars As Promised!
This product arrived earlier than expected. I had to email c/s one night for help on the language portion of the DVD, and they responded the next morning. Great service.
Published on April 8, 2009 by J. McNeil
3.0 out of 5 stars The Middle Third Was Excellent
I found this film noir to be odd in that the beginning and the end were both lousy but the longer middle part was excellent. Read more
Published on April 7, 2009 by Craig Connell
5.0 out of 5 stars Phantom Lady Cast
The Jive Club Pianist was not Freddie Slack but Paul James Parks, who shortly thereafter was drafted into WWII and was in an entertainment unit which performed throughout the... Read more
Published on January 12, 2007 by Susan C. Parks
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