PHANTOM LADY. Universal Pictures, 1944. Franchot Tone, Ella Raines, Alan Curtis, Aurora Miranda, Thomas Gomez, Fay Helm, Elisha Cook Jr. Based on the novel by Cornell Woolrich. Director: Robert Siodmak.

   [Phantom Lady, based on the novel by Cornell Woolrich] is a handsomely staged but wildly improbable tale of an architect (Curtis) who is wrongly convicted of his wife’s murder and of his Girl Friday’s attempt to track down the real murderer.

   Curtis is, as usual, bland, and G .F. Raines overacts (something of a feat for someone with very modest acting talents), but Tone has some good scenes as a charmer with a flaw and Elisha Cook’s murder is well-staged. At its best, Woolrich’s world in which shadows seem to pulsate with threats and menace is splendidly captured in this uneven film with its uneasy blend of glibness and implicit peril. Woolrich can’t be beat for texture and atmosphere, and Siodmak and his team have managed to get some of that on film.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 6, No. 4, July-August 1982.