31 July 2014

A Blueprint for Murder (1953)
77 min.
Directed by Andrew Stone.
With Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, Gary Merrill, Catherine McLeod, Jack Kruschen, Barney Phillips, Freddy Ridgeway.
After his niece Polly dies from a mysterious illness, Whitney Cameron (Cotten) pays a visit to his sister-in-law Lynne (Peters) to provide his condolences and a little comfort. However, Cameron feels something just isn't right. It seems Polly died in the same manner as her father, from an undetermined disease...one that mirrors the ugly & deadly effects of strychnine poisoning! But who would want both Polly and her father dead? Could the culprit be lovely Lynne? Could Cameron's demure sister-in-law really be a sociopathic murderess out to get the family inheritance?

Screen vet Cotten is a stalwart performer - he always delivers the most solid of work - but in Blueprint for Murder, it's Peters (ex-wife of Howard Hughes) that gives up the goods, yielding a delightful turn as the unequivocally sweet stepmother who also just might be a cold blooded killer.

It's a decent film noir thriller competently directed by Stone, tightly paced, leaving you guessing right up until the last minute (literally) of its running time. A bit of a shame Gary Merrill is underused here, but don't let that stop you from seeking out this early '50s psych sleeper.

copyright 1998-present | The Terror Trap; www.terrortrap.com | all rights reserved