Review: Phantom Lady

Blu-ray: Phantom Lady (1944)

Scott Henderson (Alan Curtis) heads to a bar to drown his sorrows after an altercation with his wife, and it is here that he starts a conversation with a mysterious woman who gives him neither her name, nor her address.

Having unused tickets to a show that he was going to take his wife to in his pocket, he offers them to the mysterious lady who also declines. After a drink and a chat together, whereby the woman is obviously distressed about something, they go to the show together on the proviso that no personal details are shared between them.

On returning home from the show, Scott finds the police there, as his wife has been strangled by one of his neckties.

Having the perfect alibi, Scott tells the police exactly where he has been all evening.

His world begins to fall apart when the police can find no evidence of the woman Scott has told them he was with. The barman says Scott was alone, the people in the theatre show deny seeing any woman with him, and he of course doesn’t even know her name or address due to the pact they made between themselves at the begging of the evening.

It is left to ‘Kansas’ (Ella Raines), the devoted secretary of Scott to try and prove his innocence before he inevitably ends up locked away in a prison for many years.

Did Scott kill his wife? Did he really meet a mysterious woman or was it in his imagination? If he did meet her, then why are all these people lying about it? All of these questions and more flow through your mind while watching Phantom Lady.

Director Robert Siodmak crafts a beautiful looking (and sounding) noir, where light and shadow play an equal part in the characterisation of all involved, and the sexual tension raises temperatures both onscreen and off, especially during a scene in which theatre show drummer Cliff (Elisha Cook Jr) attempts to seduce Kansas at a sleazy music rehearsal where the tunes and the temperature gets everyone sweating.

Adapted from the novel by Cornell Woolrich, Phantom Lady is a stylish noir, combining great performances and beautiful cinematography, all wrapped around a narrative that keeps you guessing until the end.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements
  • Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Dark and Deadly: 50 Years of Film Noir, an insightful archival documentary featuring contributions from Robert Wise, Edward Dmytryk, Dennis Hopper and more
  • Rare, hour-long 1944 radio dramatization of Phantom Lady by the Lux Radio Theatre, starring Alan Curtis and Ella Raines
  • Gallery of original stills and promotional materials
  • Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Alan K. Rode

Phantom Lady is released on 4th March 2019, and you can buy it by clicking HERE. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes.

Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Fetch Publicity from Arrow Films.