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A jealous musician kills his wife and frames a cab driver.
In Vienna, Austria, Karen Manelli, the American wife of concert pianist Claude Manelli, receives a telegram from her old friend, Jack Mortimer, saying that he will be arriving in Vienna that night. The possessive Claude intercepts the telegram and confronts her, but pleads that he wants her to stay with him and promises to be a better husband. After leaving the house to rehearse for a New Year's Eve concert that night, Claude is no longer able to suppress his anger and drives his large, expensive car recklessly, narrowly missing a taxi driven by Toni Sponer. Toni is furious when he drops off the cab for his co-worker Heinth, but their friend Marie warns him not to call the police as he has had no papers since the war and will be thrown in jail for driving illegally. The fatalistic Toni, whose father was a prominent professor and spent many years in America, tells Marie that jail might not be too bad. Late that afternoon, with the help of her faithful maid, Mrs. Fraser, Karen sneaks past Kruger, Claude's conniving manager, and leaves their house to meet Jack at a local hotel. Because Heinth is too drunk to drive, Toni takes his evening shift, and when Jack arrives at the train station, he hires Toni's taxi and asks to be driven to the airline office. Meanwhile, Kruger has discovered that Karen left the house and informs Claude. Too upset to continue his rehearsal, Claude says that he wants to rest before his performance, then secretly leaves the concert hall and drives to the train station. He sees Jack enter Toni's taxi and follows them in his car. At the airline office, Jack asks to have the tickets for Karen and himself delivered to his hotel, then walks back to the taxi and asks Toni to retrieve a suitcase left at the counter. While Toni is inside, Claude, who wrongly assumes that Jack and Karen are in love, leaves his car, sneaks around the taxi and shoots Jack through the back window. Because jackhammers are working on the street, the shot is not heard, thus enabling Claude to drive away. His car is observed by Toni, who is surprised to see it again. Toni gets into the taxi and drives for a few blocks, but senses that something is wrong when his passenger does not respond to questions. When Toni discovers that Jack is dead, he tries to inform a policeman, but traffic is heavy, and the preoccupied officer orders Toni to move along. Toni later calls the police from a crowded bar, but when the policeman asks his name, Toni hangs up. Thinking that the American passport and money in Jack's pockets will offer him a way out of his predicament, Toni drives the body to a deserted area beneath a bridge, takes Jack's suitcase, wallet, coat and hat, then leaves. After having his picture taken and arranging for a doctoring of Jack's passport, Toni writes a note to the police, telling them where they can find the body. He then goes to see Marie, worrying her by saying that he will be leaving Vienna that night. Next, Toni checks into Jack's hotel. As he registers as Jack Mortimer, Karen observes him and determines to find out who the impostor is. She knocks on the door of his room and pretends to be looking for someone else, then confronts him, demanding to know who he is. His story of being a friend of Jack falls apart, and when Karen suddenly realizes that Jack may be dead, she runs off. A few minutes later, the police, accompanied by Karen, take Toni to the police station. Toni, who is now dressed like an American and speaks perfect English, remains calm and shows the police inspector the doctored passport. After receiving a telephone call, the inspector takes both Toni and Karen to the concert hall, where Claude greets them. To Toni's surprise, Claude apologizes to him for the inconvenience and explains that Karen is ill and has run off before and concocted fantasies. The inspector, who is a fan of Claude, then allows Toni to leave. On the sidewalk outside the theater, Toni is surprised to again see the car he encountered twice that afternoon. When Toni goes back to the hotel to collect his airline tickets, he learns that the clerk had given them to Karen earlier. Just as Toni starts to panic, the bellboy hands him a message from Karen, asking to meet him. Karen tells him that Jack was Claude's best man; therefore, if he hid the fact that Toni was an imposter, it must be because he himself killed Jack. Although skeptical at first, Toni admits that she is right and the pair goes to Marie's apartment to hide until it is time to leave for the airport. Unknown to them, a woman has gone to the police to complain that her fur was stained by blood in Heinth's taxi. Heinth has no idea how the blood got there, but under pressure, reveals that Toni had driven for him earlier that evening. The police then arrive at Heinth and Toni's apartment, but Marie helps Karen and Toni get away, then tells the police she has been drinking alone all night because Toni stood her up. As Karen and Toni hide while waiting to go to the airport, Karen tells him about Claude's insane jealousy and her need to get away from him. Meanwhile, Kruger, who knows what has happened, advises Claude to let her go, as she no longer loves him, but Claude cannot be dissuaded and takes Kruger with him to the airport. Just before their flight is to leave, Karen and Toni nervously check in and are about to board when an official tells Karen that she must first update a vaccination certificate. When she and Toni arrive at the nurse's station, Claude and Kruger are there. Toni calls Claude a murderer, then Claude sends Kruger for the police inspector. As their flight is announced, a defeated Karen implores Toni to save himself. Under the watchful eyes of Claude and the inspector, Toni approaches the plane, but at the last moment turns back, then tells the inspector that he is an imposter, responsible for aiding Claude, who murdered Jack Mortimer. Although Claude laughs off the accusation, Toni says that he can prove Claude knew he was an impostor by opening Jack's suitcase, which contains a picture of Jack, Claude and Karen. Claude then runs onto the tarmac, but is arrested by the police. Later, Toni assures Karen that he will only serve a few months in prison, and she can now go home to America. Karen says that she will be staying, then takes a cigarette from Toni as they gaze at the departing plane.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||Los Angeles opening: 3 Apr 1953|
|Release Date:||1953||Production Date:||
The Turhan Bey production
We gave our VID to EB 7 Jul 05
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Helen Ainsworth Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Turhan Bey|
|Duration(mins):||87-88||Country:||Austria and United States|
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User Ratings & Review
INTERESTING PREMISE FOR A MOVIE EVEN IN 1953.
ROZ BLANCH 2007-05-09
GOOD ACTING IN A REAL "FILM NOIR"ENJOYED VERY MUCH