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Before he revolutionized the women's film with such gleefully melodramatic works as Written on the Wind and Magnigicent Obsession, director Douglas Sirk made a series of glossy thrillers flavored by European settings (shortly after his emigration to the U.S. from Germany). Like the films for which he would become famous, Lured revels in the glamour and romance that Hollywood had honed to perfection, and plays every scene -- every coy glance, every deadly encounter -- the melodramatic hilt. In Lured, a serial killer terrorized London, trapping his prey through personal ads in the newspaper and taunting the police with gruesome poems. A Scotland Yard detective (Charles Coburn) enlists the aid of a feisty American redhead (a truly captivating Lucille Ball) to draw the murderer into the dragnet, and leads her across the paths of a variety of peculiar suspects -- including a demented clothing designer (Boris Karloff) and an international playboy (George Saunders) -- all of whom seem to have designs on the Yard's most delectable decoy.
Lucille Ball is in fine pre-TV form--still more the glamorous redhead than the slapstick comedienne--in Lured, Douglas Sirk's elegantly handled low-budget whodunit. Ball plays an American nightclub dancer in London, recruited by the police as a decoy for a serial killer--a maniac who finds his victims through the newspaper personal ads. The guilty party isn't difficult to guess, but the script by Leo Rosten is more literate than most such endeavors, and it's fun to watch our out-of-place heroine brazen it out in the London fog. George Sanders is the most cultivated of her suitors, and there's a weird sequence featuring Boris Karloff as a dress designer with crackpot designs on Lucy. Maybe best of all, the film has a crowd of good character actors: Charles Coburn (as a Scotland Yard inspector who becomes protective of his amateur agent), Cedric Hardwicke, Alan Mowbray, Joseph Calleia, and especially George Zucco, a frequent movie villain in a sympathetic role as an avuncular cop. Sirk brings his Germanic precision to the details, and cameraman William Daniels (Greta Garbo's favorite) no doubt had a hand in making Ball look good. Lured was subsequently re-titled Personal Column, much to Sirk's annoyance. --Robert Horton
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Lucy is a taxi dancer pressed into service by Scotland Yard to lure a killer of young women out of hiding. One of the women was her best friend at the dance club where they worked. As Sandra Carpenter she is fully up to the task and is quite funny in her reactions to all the lines she gets from men. I love some of these early roles that treat her as the really beautiful woman she was, since later her zany television character erased all that from her character. Charles Coburn is Inspector Harley Temple and they are surrounded by a fine cast of British actors who include Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Alan Mobray, George Zucco (in a rare non-villainous role), Alan Napier and Boris Karloff (in a truly zany cameo as a demented designer). Mobray had appeared in three Sherlock Holmes films though never as Professor Moriarity. Then, of course there's Sanderswith all his charm and mellifluous voice and a true presence in any film.
One of my few complaints about the film is that Sanders is a bit under utilized. He isn't given enough too say, especially when one considers his expert delivery of wit and caustic comments a few years later as Addison DeWitt in All About Eve. Still, he's George Saunders and just being in a scene gives it an extra lift. There are some typical red herrings and it's not really hard to guess the killer, but it's still a very enjoyable film that gives you a number of minor characters and subplots to think about.
This 1940's movie is in b/w and was done before all of that and is more mystery than melodrama. It stars Lucille Ball in a role where she shows her fine dramatic acting talent by playing the part of a hired hostess (no, not a prostitute) turned detective. The story, which is set in London, revolves around a series of murders of young women. Since one of the first missing and later found murdered girls was Sanda (that is, Ball's character in the film) friend, Sanda is hired by Police Inspector Temple (played so well by Charles Coburn) to set a trap for the killer in which, you guessed it, Sanda is the bait.
A young and handsome George Sanders is appealing as the obvious suspect and also Sanda's romantic interest. Minor roles by the supporting cast contribute to making this a fine film noir to watch, e.g. Charles Coburn, Boris Karloff, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, and whoever played Sanda's police bodyguard. Considering the murders involved there are a couple comedic scenes (not sure if intended or not); but Lucille's character isn't the funny one in this flick. Bottom line is that this is just a long forgotten but good movie with a somewhat surprising but nonetheless suspenseful ending. Bought it for $2.99 and downloaded it here for my Amazon Video Library so I can watch it with my husband eventually too.
The Boris Karloff scene was fascinating! I am not too familiar with him, but I imagine the creepiness was pretty typical of what you would see in his other movies. It sure was a lot of fun!
I did not care for the love story that was the b-plot of this movie. But it is just as well. That was also pretty typical of what love stories consisted of during this era. Unless the entire movie was about the love story, there was not a lot of substance.
I have the VHS. I noticed many reviewers said the DVD was not a good quality. I converted the video to DVD on my own DVD player, so I suppose I am fine just keeping my own copy, especially if there are no special features.
Most recent customer reviews
carry this film noir.The plot is OK
and the video quality is terrific!