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The Strange Mrs. Crane

The Strange Mrs. Crane(1948)

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Young Gina Crane is married to elderly lawyer Clinton Crane, who is a candidate for governor and is unaware that prior to their marriage, Gina, then known as Jenny Hadley, had fled from Milwaukee, where she was involved in a blackmail racket with her boyfriend Floyd Durant. Durant comes back into Gina's life and convinces her that he is still in love with her, but then attempts to blackmail her, threatening to reveal her past. Gina breaks off the affair and threatens to kill him. However, Durant sends her a note reminding her about a blackmail photograph she posed for in Milwaukee, which he possesses. The note also indicates that he will be home that evening and that she had better see him or he will inform her husband of her past. Gina stuffs the note into her coat pocket and heads for Durant's apartment, where he manages to get his current girl friend, model Barbara Arnold, out of the way just before Gina arrives. Durant demands $15,000 from Gina for his silence, but Gina insists she can only raise only $2,000. When Durant phones her husband, Gina stabs him with a letter opener. The next day, Barbara is arrested for Durant's murder and her only defense is that she saw another woman approach Durant's apartment as she was leaving. Edna Emmerson, Barbara's employer, approaches Crane about defending Barbara, but Gina persuades him that he should not let anything interfere with his political campaign. However, Crane recommends that his friend, Mark Emery, defend Barbara. During his investigation, Mark discovers a "Jenny Hadley" in Durant's past, but cannot trace her. By a strange coincidence, Gina's name is drawn to serve on the jury that is to try Barbara and she even becomes the jury's foreperson. When some jurors suggest that Barbara might be innocent, Gina argues strenuously for her conviction, and eventually the jury returns a unanimous verdict of guilty. Gina fills out the form on which the verdict has to be recorded and puts it in her coat pocket. In the courtroom, Gina is instructed to hand the verdict to the clerk, and she mistakenly hands him Durant's blackmail note. When the judge orders the clerk to read the paper, Gina's fate is sealed. She is arrested and Barbara is freed.