LURED (Douglas Sirk, 1947)

Superficial, somewhat silly though increasingly entertaining comical thriller, mildly directed by Douglas Sirk, in which an American, who works in a London dance hall, helps Scotland Yard identify and catch a serial killer of women on the loose by offering herself up as whoever’s next victim. The killer, we learn, is an avid reader of Baudelaire; right before each of his carefully planned murders, he sends the police a “flower of evil” that gives in verse at least one sharp detail about the next victim.

George Sanders, Lucille Ball (softer than usual here), Charles Coburn and George Zucco all act engagingly, and (no matter how specious the psychologic with which his chain-smoking character is saddled) Cedric Hardwicke steals the show with one of his most meticulously crafted performances.

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