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87 minutes
Robert Siodmak's 1944 effort is often cited as one of the classics of film noir, for reasons that have never been clear to me. Apart from Siodmak's aggressive expressionist imagery, this is a very conventional murder mystery, offering few of the metaphysical complications that characterize the genre at its best. Even so, Siodmak's sinister mise-en-scene seems to collapse as the denouement approaches. The director's Criss Cross and Cry of the City are immeasurably superior, but Phantom Lady does have one quintessentially slimy noir moment, as Elisha Cook Jr. belts out a lustful drum solo in a dank basement club. With Ella Raines, Franchot Tone, and Alan Curtis.

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