Lured


1h 42m 1947
Lured

Brief Synopsis

A woman helps the police catch the serial killer who murdered her best friend.

Film Details

Also Known As
Personal Column
Genre
Crime
Mystery
Thriller
Release Date
Jan 1947
Premiere Information
New York opening: 28 Aug 1947; Los Angeles opening: 14 Oct 1947
Production Company
Oakmont Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the screenplay Pièges by Jacques Companeez, Ernest Neuville and Simon Gantillon (France, 1939).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,228ft

Synopsis

In London, Scotland Yard investigators receive the latest in a series of cryptic poems authored by an elusive killer and conclude that his seventh victim will be a dancer. Inspector Harley Temple of the Criminal Investigation Department orders a typewriter and fingerprint analysis of the poem, but the identity of the "Poet Killer," as he has been named, eludes investigators. While the police investigation continues, English dance hall hostess Lucy Barnard and American dancer Sandra Carpenter are offered auditions by producers Robert Fleming and Julian Wilde for their new stage show. Though Sandra accepts the offer, Lucy refuses and explains that she is quitting the dance hall circuit to travel with a handsome man she met through a personal advertisement. When Lucy disappears a short time later, Temple believes that she has fallen victim to the killer. After locating Sandra, the last known person to have seen Lucy, Temple hires her to act as a decoy to trap the killer. As part of her assignment, Sandra sets out to answer all the personal advertisements in the newspaper in which pretty women are sought. After an introduction to an assortment of strange men, including an eccentric artist who at first appears menancing but turns out to be harmless, Sandra answers an advertisement that leads to a job as a parlor maid for aristocrat Lyle Maxwell. Meanwhile, Fleming, an irrepressible playboy, orders his assistants to find Sandra, whom he has not met, but whose beautiful telephone voice has enchanted him. Robert meets Sandra by coincidence one evening when they both attend the same concert. The two fall instantly in love and become engaged, but soon after moving into Robert's home, Sandra finds evidence indicating that Robert knew Lucy. Temple, meanwhile, has discovered a passage in the latest poem he received from the killer that suggests that Robert is the culprit and that Sandra is his next intended victim. Robert is arrested, and although he is innocent, he refuses to defend himself at his trial because he feels that Sandra has betrayed him. Temple later suspects that Robert is being framed by someone else and, with Sandra's help, proves that Wilde, Robert's housemate, is the real killer. Wilde's guilt is revealed in time to save Robert from execution, and Robert resumes his romance with Sandra.

Photo Collections

Lured - Movie Poster
Here is an original-release insert movie poster for Lured (1947), starring Lucille Ball. Inserts measured 14x36 inches.

Videos

Movie Clip

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Personal Column
Genre
Crime
Mystery
Thriller
Release Date
Jan 1947
Premiere Information
New York opening: 28 Aug 1947; Los Angeles opening: 14 Oct 1947
Production Company
Oakmont Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the screenplay Pièges by Jacques Companeez, Ernest Neuville and Simon Gantillon (France, 1939).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,228ft

Articles

Lured


Long before we learned to love Lucy as TV's first sitcom goddess, Lucille Ball soldiered away in Hollywood, learning her craft in scores of movies, starting in 1933 as a Goldwyn Girl with Betty Grable, Paulette Goddard, Ann Dvorak and Virginia Bruce. Often she was uncredited in those early days. Lured (1947) was her 73rd movie, made while she was a freelance actress. Transplanted from its original Parisian setting (and Robert Siodmak's 1939 French policier, Pieges) to a Hollywood backlot version of London, it's a potboiler revolving around a sassy American taxi dancer who allows herself to be used as bait by Scotland Yard to trap a serial killer of women he meets through classified ads in a newspaper's personals column.

There's something of a borrowed Jack the Ripper atmosphere in the early shots - cobblestoned streets, gaslights, fog, visual cues of nocturnal dangers. It's a less than top-of-the-line movie made with impressive craft and style by Douglas Sirk, who had not yet become Hollywood's poet of bourgeois entrapment in misery-generating social roles. Ball is in fact billed second to George Sanders, who three years later was to peak as the disdainful drama critic in All About Eve (1950), in which he dryly and famously introduced newcomer Marilyn Monroe as a graduate of the Copacabana School of Dramatic Arts. In Lured, he runs a London version of the Copa, softening somewhat his usual impression as a walking sneer, partly because he was cast as the romantic interest for Ball's Sandra Carpenter. He can't marry her fast enough after falling under the spell of being dissed by her, in contrast to all the other women in his life, who yearn for the smallest crumb of affection or interest from him. Or perhaps it was that he had already begun thinking himself into his next role, the cavalier King Charles II in Forever Amber (1947).

Either way, it's interesting to see him get the chance to reveal a degree of vulnerability he almost never did on his way through a long career that ended with a string of campy nonsense and a suicide note that mentioned boredom. In Lured, he's more than vulnerable. He's accused of being the killer after Ball discovers a few incriminating clues in his study. What she's doing there at all, playing detective, orbits the film right out of even the slightest gravitational field of credibility, as we're asked to believe that Scotland Yard's Criminal Investigation Division, headed by an avuncular Charles Coburn, would put her up to playing detective as well as the lure to land the killer, casually handing her a loaded pistol to slip into her handbag to equip her with what he terms "moral support." But then Lured was never about credibility. It was, and now seems even more so, about style.

Once it moves inside from the soot-encrusted streets of gaslit London, it's all glistening bourgeois interiors of the sybaritic club owner's house and snazzy art deco nightclub décor. Ball's spunky Sandra is the ultimate work of art here, though, in form-fitting suits with shoulder pads, white ermine furs, wide-brimmed picture hats and a flamboyant array of jewels. Had the film been in Technicolor, Ball's red hair and blue eyes would have trumped them all. Not for nothing was she nicknamed Techniciolor Tessie. Yet in the end it isn't Ball's accessories that impress us about her. It's what they're accessorizing, namely her warm, down-to-earth forthrightness. She hadn't yet arrived at the ditsy female image of the Lucy TV years (while becoming, off-camera, Hollywood's most powerful woman player since Mary Pickford). And she modestly claimed to be nowhere near the comedienne Carole Lombard was. But she knew what she was doing, even before she hired Buster Keaton to school her in the comic potential to be gleaned from seeming accident-prone.

Although Lured can seem a bit poky for a thriller, it constantly sends the kinds of reassuring messages that only a roster of competent craftsmen can. Quite apart from Ball, with her American up-frontness, and Sanders, in his sophisticated burnout mode, making an oddly agreeable odd couple, and Sirk beaming surehandedness at us in every bit of lighting, framing and pacing, Lured offers the kind of casting depth that once was common currency in Hollywood, and now, to put it softly, can no longer be taken for granted. Coburn, that veteran Shakespearean from Georgia, never let a film down, and doesn't here as he ploddingly deduces his way to the killer's identity with the use of psychological profiling that also lets Sanders' hedonist off the hook on the grounds that he's too much in love with life and its pleasures to want to see any of it end.

While Ball's combination of warm-heartedness and tough cookie chat is its own reward, she's surrounded by a rich phalanx of character actors. These range from Boris Karloff's demented dress designer, doing a riff on his mad monster roles, to Sir Cedric Hardwicke, whose chiseled deliveries, sonorous tones, and chilly detachment as Sanders' business partner with a weakness for Baudelaire, make him seem to be phoning his performance in from the moon. It's also a pleasant surprise to note George Zucco, usually cast as heavies, turn up as the fatherly police shadow assigned to lurk in the vicinity of Ball's dancer and keep her from harm, and Alan Mowbray, departing from his usual light comedy assignments to appear as a sinister type. Then there's Robert Coote, less than a decade away from his plum role as Pickering on the Broadway stage in My Fair Lady, seen here as one of Coburn's underlings. And, and, and. Lured is a delicious plum pudding of a cult movie dating from before the term was used to describe that tangy sector of pop culture heaven, or, for that matter, before pop culture entered the lexicon.

Producer: James Nasser
Director: Douglas Sirk
Screenplay: Leo Rosten; Jacques Companeez, Simon Gantillon, Ernest Neuville (story)
Cinematography: William Daniels
Music: Michel Michelet
Film Editing: John M. Foley, James E. Newcom
Cast: George Sanders (Robert Fleming), Lucille Ball (Sandra Carpenter), Charles Coburn (Inspector Harley Temple), Boris Karloff (Charles van Druten), Sir Cedric Hardwicke (Julian Wilde), Joseph Calleia (Dr. Nicholas Moryani), Alan Mowbray (Lyle Maxwell alias Maxim Duval).
BW-102m.

by Jay Carr

Sources:
IMDb
A Biographical Dictionary of Film, by David Thomson, Morrow, 1975
Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball, by Kathleen Brady, Hyperion, 1994
Love, Lucy, by Lucille Ball, Putnam, 1996
Lured

Lured

Long before we learned to love Lucy as TV's first sitcom goddess, Lucille Ball soldiered away in Hollywood, learning her craft in scores of movies, starting in 1933 as a Goldwyn Girl with Betty Grable, Paulette Goddard, Ann Dvorak and Virginia Bruce. Often she was uncredited in those early days. Lured (1947) was her 73rd movie, made while she was a freelance actress. Transplanted from its original Parisian setting (and Robert Siodmak's 1939 French policier, Pieges) to a Hollywood backlot version of London, it's a potboiler revolving around a sassy American taxi dancer who allows herself to be used as bait by Scotland Yard to trap a serial killer of women he meets through classified ads in a newspaper's personals column. There's something of a borrowed Jack the Ripper atmosphere in the early shots - cobblestoned streets, gaslights, fog, visual cues of nocturnal dangers. It's a less than top-of-the-line movie made with impressive craft and style by Douglas Sirk, who had not yet become Hollywood's poet of bourgeois entrapment in misery-generating social roles. Ball is in fact billed second to George Sanders, who three years later was to peak as the disdainful drama critic in All About Eve (1950), in which he dryly and famously introduced newcomer Marilyn Monroe as a graduate of the Copacabana School of Dramatic Arts. In Lured, he runs a London version of the Copa, softening somewhat his usual impression as a walking sneer, partly because he was cast as the romantic interest for Ball's Sandra Carpenter. He can't marry her fast enough after falling under the spell of being dissed by her, in contrast to all the other women in his life, who yearn for the smallest crumb of affection or interest from him. Or perhaps it was that he had already begun thinking himself into his next role, the cavalier King Charles II in Forever Amber (1947). Either way, it's interesting to see him get the chance to reveal a degree of vulnerability he almost never did on his way through a long career that ended with a string of campy nonsense and a suicide note that mentioned boredom. In Lured, he's more than vulnerable. He's accused of being the killer after Ball discovers a few incriminating clues in his study. What she's doing there at all, playing detective, orbits the film right out of even the slightest gravitational field of credibility, as we're asked to believe that Scotland Yard's Criminal Investigation Division, headed by an avuncular Charles Coburn, would put her up to playing detective as well as the lure to land the killer, casually handing her a loaded pistol to slip into her handbag to equip her with what he terms "moral support." But then Lured was never about credibility. It was, and now seems even more so, about style. Once it moves inside from the soot-encrusted streets of gaslit London, it's all glistening bourgeois interiors of the sybaritic club owner's house and snazzy art deco nightclub décor. Ball's spunky Sandra is the ultimate work of art here, though, in form-fitting suits with shoulder pads, white ermine furs, wide-brimmed picture hats and a flamboyant array of jewels. Had the film been in Technicolor, Ball's red hair and blue eyes would have trumped them all. Not for nothing was she nicknamed Techniciolor Tessie. Yet in the end it isn't Ball's accessories that impress us about her. It's what they're accessorizing, namely her warm, down-to-earth forthrightness. She hadn't yet arrived at the ditsy female image of the Lucy TV years (while becoming, off-camera, Hollywood's most powerful woman player since Mary Pickford). And she modestly claimed to be nowhere near the comedienne Carole Lombard was. But she knew what she was doing, even before she hired Buster Keaton to school her in the comic potential to be gleaned from seeming accident-prone. Although Lured can seem a bit poky for a thriller, it constantly sends the kinds of reassuring messages that only a roster of competent craftsmen can. Quite apart from Ball, with her American up-frontness, and Sanders, in his sophisticated burnout mode, making an oddly agreeable odd couple, and Sirk beaming surehandedness at us in every bit of lighting, framing and pacing, Lured offers the kind of casting depth that once was common currency in Hollywood, and now, to put it softly, can no longer be taken for granted. Coburn, that veteran Shakespearean from Georgia, never let a film down, and doesn't here as he ploddingly deduces his way to the killer's identity with the use of psychological profiling that also lets Sanders' hedonist off the hook on the grounds that he's too much in love with life and its pleasures to want to see any of it end. While Ball's combination of warm-heartedness and tough cookie chat is its own reward, she's surrounded by a rich phalanx of character actors. These range from Boris Karloff's demented dress designer, doing a riff on his mad monster roles, to Sir Cedric Hardwicke, whose chiseled deliveries, sonorous tones, and chilly detachment as Sanders' business partner with a weakness for Baudelaire, make him seem to be phoning his performance in from the moon. It's also a pleasant surprise to note George Zucco, usually cast as heavies, turn up as the fatherly police shadow assigned to lurk in the vicinity of Ball's dancer and keep her from harm, and Alan Mowbray, departing from his usual light comedy assignments to appear as a sinister type. Then there's Robert Coote, less than a decade away from his plum role as Pickering on the Broadway stage in My Fair Lady, seen here as one of Coburn's underlings. And, and, and. Lured is a delicious plum pudding of a cult movie dating from before the term was used to describe that tangy sector of pop culture heaven, or, for that matter, before pop culture entered the lexicon. Producer: James Nasser Director: Douglas Sirk Screenplay: Leo Rosten; Jacques Companeez, Simon Gantillon, Ernest Neuville (story) Cinematography: William Daniels Music: Michel Michelet Film Editing: John M. Foley, James E. Newcom Cast: George Sanders (Robert Fleming), Lucille Ball (Sandra Carpenter), Charles Coburn (Inspector Harley Temple), Boris Karloff (Charles van Druten), Sir Cedric Hardwicke (Julian Wilde), Joseph Calleia (Dr. Nicholas Moryani), Alan Mowbray (Lyle Maxwell alias Maxim Duval). BW-102m. by Jay Carr Sources: IMDb A Biographical Dictionary of Film, by David Thomson, Morrow, 1975 Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball, by Kathleen Brady, Hyperion, 1994 Love, Lucy, by Lucille Ball, Putnam, 1996

Lured - Lucille Ball in a thriller?


Before she converted herself into "Lucy," the most beloved comic actress in TV history, Lucille Ball put in several years as a Hollywood chorus girl-starlet. Never one to ignite the screen in conventional roles, she delivered a string of benign performances in films that generally ranged in quality from passable to bad. Though the cover of Kino Video's DVD release of Ball's 1947 vehicle, Lured, describes the picture as "Douglas Sirk's Rediscovered Thriller," it really doesn't come close to the director's best work. But, given the success he had directing such later melodramas as Magnificent Obsession and Imitation of Life, it's definitely worth a look for the curious.

Lured's shadowy settings can't camouflage a contrived, strangely episodic script, and Ball, as was sometimes the case with her movie work, is too brassy for her own good. She plays Sandra Carpenter, a displaced American actress who's trying to eek out a living as a dance hostess in London. A nicely executed opening sequence explains that someone has been placing personal ads in the newspaper, then killing the women who answer them. When one of her dancer friends disappears, Sandra agrees - quite unbelievably - to become bait for the killer. Charles Coburn - quite unbelievably again - plays a Scotland yard detective who has his men tail her while she goes on a series of dates that might turn into murder.

This is more tense than wondering whether Lucy and Ethel can handle a conveyor belt full of chocolate candies, but not by much. Aside from a witty turn by George Sanders, who seems to think he's playing Noel Coward, the lead performances are perfunctory at best. Perhaps the most interesting interlude is a bizarre hook-up between Lucy and a deranged dress designer embodied by Boris Karloff. It does absolutely nothing to advance the plot, although it's fun to watch Karloff glower menacingly on a cobweb-laden set. Don't be fooled, though. The sequence only lasts a few minutes, but Kino prominently displays Karloff's face on the box.

Lured is presented in its original 1.37:1 aspect ratio, and the print is quite sharp, with distinct separation of the blacks and grays. You never get lost in the shadows, and, as already mentioned, Sirk was big on shadows at this point. The usual specks and scratches appear at times (this isn't one of those minutely restored masterpieces), but the overall image is much better than expected. The sound is also acceptable for a 56 year-old film. That better be enough to keep you happy, though, since Kino doesn't include any extras, not even a movie historian's essay or a beat-up trailer.

For more information about Lured, visit Kino International. To order Lured, go to TCM Shopping.

by Paul Tatara

Lured - Lucille Ball in a thriller?

Before she converted herself into "Lucy," the most beloved comic actress in TV history, Lucille Ball put in several years as a Hollywood chorus girl-starlet. Never one to ignite the screen in conventional roles, she delivered a string of benign performances in films that generally ranged in quality from passable to bad. Though the cover of Kino Video's DVD release of Ball's 1947 vehicle, Lured, describes the picture as "Douglas Sirk's Rediscovered Thriller," it really doesn't come close to the director's best work. But, given the success he had directing such later melodramas as Magnificent Obsession and Imitation of Life, it's definitely worth a look for the curious. Lured's shadowy settings can't camouflage a contrived, strangely episodic script, and Ball, as was sometimes the case with her movie work, is too brassy for her own good. She plays Sandra Carpenter, a displaced American actress who's trying to eek out a living as a dance hostess in London. A nicely executed opening sequence explains that someone has been placing personal ads in the newspaper, then killing the women who answer them. When one of her dancer friends disappears, Sandra agrees - quite unbelievably - to become bait for the killer. Charles Coburn - quite unbelievably again - plays a Scotland yard detective who has his men tail her while she goes on a series of dates that might turn into murder. This is more tense than wondering whether Lucy and Ethel can handle a conveyor belt full of chocolate candies, but not by much. Aside from a witty turn by George Sanders, who seems to think he's playing Noel Coward, the lead performances are perfunctory at best. Perhaps the most interesting interlude is a bizarre hook-up between Lucy and a deranged dress designer embodied by Boris Karloff. It does absolutely nothing to advance the plot, although it's fun to watch Karloff glower menacingly on a cobweb-laden set. Don't be fooled, though. The sequence only lasts a few minutes, but Kino prominently displays Karloff's face on the box. Lured is presented in its original 1.37:1 aspect ratio, and the print is quite sharp, with distinct separation of the blacks and grays. You never get lost in the shadows, and, as already mentioned, Sirk was big on shadows at this point. The usual specks and scratches appear at times (this isn't one of those minutely restored masterpieces), but the overall image is much better than expected. The sound is also acceptable for a 56 year-old film. That better be enough to keep you happy, though, since Kino doesn't include any extras, not even a movie historian's essay or a beat-up trailer. For more information about Lured, visit Kino International. To order Lured, go to TCM Shopping. by Paul Tatara

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Personal Column. Although Screen Achievements Bulletin lists Jacques Companeez, Ernest Neuville and Simon Gantillon as authors of a novel entitled Pièges, no publication information has been found. The 1939 French film Pièges, made by Speva Films, was directed by Robert Siodmak and starred Marie Déa and Madeleine Geoffroy. In addition to their work on Pièges, Companeez, Neuville and Gantillon collaborated on many other French films. Lured was the first production of Oakmont Pictures, a company formed in November 1945 by distributor James Nasser and producer Henry Kesler. The original name of the company was Crystal Pictures, Inc.
       According to a December 1945 Los Angeles Times news item, Nasser and Kesler initially hired Norman Reilly Raine to write the screenplay, but his contribution to the completed film has not been confirmed. The Daily Variety review credits writer Leo Rosten with both screenplay and story treatment, but no other source lists him that way. Although Boris Karloff is billed fourth in the credits, he only appears in one scene. According to a mid-December Hollywood Reporter news item, Lucille Ball "collapsed on the set" of the film, shutting down production for three days. Hollywood Reporter news items add the following actors to the cast: David Cavendish, Stuart Hall, Wyndham Standing, Gordon Constable, Cyril Delevanti, Konstantin Shayne and Eddie Parks. Their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video December 8, 1998

Released in United States September 1947

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1947

Shot between October and December 1946.

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1947

Released in United States on Video December 8, 1998

Released in United States September 1947