This compact thriller gets considerable mileage from a rather worn plot – that of convincing, for criminal purposes, a sane but unstable person that they are mad.
Here the plotters are headed by Milo Seymour (John Harding), who has worked out a scheme to murder his wealthy wife and throw the blame on her companion, Sharon Carlin (the remarkably talented Mala Powers).
As Sharon has spent some time in psychiatric care following a nervous breakdown and also killed a suicidal former employee in uncertain self-defence, Milo figures she is ideal for the part.
It’s only when Sharon escapes the trap momentarily and bumps into suave, solicitous Paul Colbert (Jacques Bergerac) that the game of persuasion is carried out to head off the Frenchman.
This phase of the operation was completely unplanned but if it had succeeded, the murder would have been doubly successful.
Up to this moment, the action is tense, and Bernard Wiesen’s direction knots all the elements of the story (corpses, a bogus detective, a mendacious chauffeur and a substitute wife) together so well – with shades of Alfred Hitchcock – that you begin to wonder if the girl isn’t actually off her rocker.
But as soon as it’s clear she’s the victim of fabricated hallucinations, the film resolves itself as a commonplace murder mystery.
Anna Lee Carroll
Peter Virgo Jr.