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A woman tries to prove her cheating husband didn't murder his mistress.
In a small town on the French Riviera, American film producer Max Poulton furtively races down a cobblestone street, trying to escape his pursuers. As the clock tower begins to toll, Max recalls how he became embroiled in this desperate situation: Max is producing a film set on the French Riviera starring Gina Bertini, his tempestuous leading lady, both on and off screen. After reconciling with his estranged wife Carol, Max has ended his clandestine affair with Gina. Loathe to lose a man to another woman, Gina asks Max to drive her to her hotel where she threatens to tell Carol about his infidelity unless he agrees to continue their affair. Gina's tantrum causes Max to be late for a party that Carol is giving at their villa. When the flustered Max arrives, he goes upstairs to change his clothes and Carol notices that his shirt cuff is bloody. After explaining that he cut his wrist, Max cryptically asks Carol if she would stay with him if "trouble arose." Soon after, a stranger comes to the villa and asks to speak with Max. In a secluded study, the man identifies himself as Inspector Carliss from Scotland Yard, then casually mentions that Gina was stabbed to death in her hotel room earlier in the evening. When Max states that he left Gina after quarrelling with her at the hotel that afternoon, Carliss insinuates that the murder was a crime of passion, then leaves. Afterward, Max hurriedly removes a satchel from his closet and speeds to the house that he and Gina shared in St. Paul to remove his possessions. As he empties the drawers, a neighbor pounds on the door, notices Max's car in the driveway and leaves. Upon returning to the villa, Max stashes the satchel under the bed. When he rejoins the party, he is stunned to see Gina socializing with the other guests. After the drunken Gina declares that she has an announcement to make, Max, fearful that she will expose their affair, insists on driving her to the hotel. On the road to town, Gina asks Max to stop at the St. Paul house. Upon reaching the house, Max leaves Gina in the car while he goes inside to turn on the lights. When he returns to the car, he finds Gina dead, the victim of a stabbing. Inspector Simon, the head of the local constabulary, is summoned, and later Carol is informed of her husband's predicament. When Simon questions Max's account of Carliss' puzzling visit, Max insists that Carliss was trying to frame him for Gina's death. Just then, a somber Carliss comes to the house and accuses Max of killing his wife, Gina. Carliss recounts receiving a letter from Gina in which she wrote that she wanted to break off her relationship with Max, but Max refused to let her go. Carliss then declares that he visited Max to plead with him to give up Gina. Because Max seemingly had no motive to kill Gina, Simon releases him. Later, Carliss phones Max and asks him to meet at a local café. There, Carliss admits that he killed Gina, whom he married five years earlier during a drunken escapade. Because Carliss was in the business of manufacturing religious textbooks and Gina was just embarking upon her film career, they decided to keep the marriage secret. Carliss explains that after suffering years of humiliation due to his wife's sordid affairs, he decided to kill her and frame Max for the crime. After flying in from London that afternoon, Carliss drove by the St. Paul house to make sure that Max's belongings were still there, then posed as a detective to frighten Max into removing his belongings from the house, thus providing a motive for the murder. When Max returns home after his meeting with Carliss, he finds Simon waiting with the neighbor who spotted Max's car in the driveway of the St. Paul house. After the neighbor states that Max was at the house on the night of the murder, Simon produces the satchel he found under Max's bed and arrests him. Before Max is taken to jail, Carol surreptitiously removes a lighter from the satchel. When she shows the lighter, which is inscribed "Christmas forever," to Max, he swears that it is not his. Thinking that the lighter might provide proof of her husband's innocence, Carol tries to contact Carliss, but is unable to locate him. When she returns home, she finds him waiting there for her. After she coyly asks for a cigarette, he searches his pockets for his lighter. Pulling the lighter from her purse, Carol hands it to him and lies that she found it in the study after he left. At that moment, Max calls from the police station and Carliss picks up the phone, pretending that it is Simon instructing them to go to the house in St. Paul. Upon hearing Carliss' voice, Max begins to fear for his wife's safety and jumps out the window of the police station to the cobblestone street below. To escape his pursuers, he steals a car and drives out of town. Upon arriving in St. Paul, Carliss tells Carol that he knows she was using the lighter to frame him. After ushering her onto a terrace overlooking the sea, Carliss calmly explains that he intends to kill her and make it look like suicide. At that moment, Max arrives, having spotted Carliss' car heading toward St. Paul. Engaging Carliss in a war of nerves, Max lies that the neighbor remembered seeing Carliss at the house on the afternoon of the murder and warns that Simon is on his way there to arrest Carliss. Max then tricks Carliss into fleeing in the stolen car. When Carliss reaches town, the police, thinking that he is Max, try to stop him. After Carliss runs over an officer, the police pursue him into the hills above the village. Shot by one of the officers, Carliss loses control of the car and plunges over a cliff. When Simon finds Carliss' body in the wreckage, he finally realizes that Carliss killed Gina. Shaken by their ordeal, Carol decides to stay with her husband.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||London, England opening: 4 Aug 1958|
|Release Date:||1958||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Columbia Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Romulus Films, Ltd.|
|Duration(mins):||83-85||Country:||Great Britain and United States|
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User Ratings & Review
Please play again -- I missed the end
Mary Guillermin 2010-07-06
As the second wife of John Guillermin, the director of this film, I try to see all his early films whenever they are available. I particularly enjoy my...
Michael Johnson 2009-07-22
Caught this movie at 12:30am and while I'm not a big fan of the extremely dry acting talents Stewart Granger, he does a fabulous job here in a movie...