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The Secret of the Whistler

The Secret of the Whistler(1946)


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Ralph Harrison, an untalented painter, is supported in his endeavors by his wealthy, ailing wife Edith. When Edith suffers a heart attack, the doctor informs Ralph that she has little time to live. Soon after, Ralph asks beautiful model Kay Morrell to pose for him and confides that his wife is dying. Kay, a gold digger, comforts Ralph, and soon the two are engaged in an illicit affair. When Dr. Gunther, a heart specialist, is called in to consult on Edith's case, Ralph begins to worry that the doctor will cure his wife. Slowly improving, Edith decides to pay a surprise visit to Ralph at his studio. Unaware of her husband's infidelity, Edith is stunned when she overhears Ralph declaring his love to Kay. Devastated, Edith returns home and in her diary, writes of Ralph's infidelity. She then orders Ralph to leave her house and informs him that she intends to eliminate him from her will. Deciding to kill Edith before she can act on her threat, Ralph sneaks into her bedroom and, thinking that she is asleep, pours a few drops of poison into one of her medicine bottles. Edith, aware of what he has done, notes the incident in her diary. Soon after, Edith dies of a heart attack, and Ralph, believing that he murdered her, orders her body cremated to destroy the evidence. Three months later, Ralph and Kay are married, and when they return home from their honeymoon, Ralph becomes agitated and worried when he reads newspaper stories about a murder that had been committed under circumstances that parallel his own case. Meanwhile, Laura, Edith's old housekeeper who resents Ralph, suggests to Kay that Ralph may have killed Edith. When Laura tells Kay that Edith kept a diary, Kay, beginning to suspect Ralph of Edith's murder, finds the diary and reads the entry describing the poisoned medicine. Upon discovering the medicine bottle, Kay tears the pages from the diary and takes the evidence to her friend, artist Jim Calhoun, who offers to have the medicine analyzed. Later, Jim phones Kay to confirm that the medicine has been poisoned and notify her that the police are on their way to arrest Ralph. Overhearing their conversation, Ralph strangles Kay, and the police arrive just as Kay draws her last breath. Ralph is then arrested for Kay's murder.