The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950)

Approved   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950) Poster

A veteran homicide detective who has witnessed his socialite girlfriend kill her husband sees his inexperienced brother assigned to the case.


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25 April 2007 | mstomaso
| Worthy noir entry
Lee J. Cobb and John Dall give nice performances in this medium-slow paced noir thriller. It is also nice to see a 20 year-old and lovely Lisa Howard in a supporting role as Dall's new wife (famous for her news coverage of Kennedy and Castro in the early 1960s, and her subsequent suicide/overdose at the age of 35).

Contrary to popular opinion, I believe that Jane Wyatt did a fine job of playing the femme fatale. Her role is a bit different from the standard noir FF, and Wyatt is a bit strange as well. Wyatt's Lois Frazier is a rich, beautiful, seemingly naive and nervous woman suffering through an abominable marriage. Senior Police Lieutenant Cullen (Cobb) is having an affair with her.

Lois' husband has just left on a suspicious business trip, when Lois discovers he has purchased a gun. She believes that her husband plans on killing her. Eventually, he returns to their house and sneaks in through a door connected to his study. His wife shoots him twice at close range in the chest. Cullen, knowing that the husband had an airline ticket for that night (his planned alibi) dumps the body off at the airport. This is the basic premise. What follows is an edgy, tense and nicely photographed story, as Cullen's younger brother (Dall) - a smart fledgling detective - begins to unravel the plot.

The chase scene offers some really nice noir cinematography, and interesting sets. The soundtrack is also fairly good and the editing and directing are fine (though the edition I saw did have a few missing frames and other problems. The plot offers some interesting convolutions, but also mixes these with clichés.

All considered - a good film for noir fans.

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