Newshawk MARY ROBERTS works the Quebec City crime beat in the Duplessis-era Whispering City, an obscure but surprisingly strong noir from 1947.
The fatal car crash of a long-retired actress intrigues intrepid reporter Roberts, sporting a rather nifty tam, and she decides to investigate further. She soon discovers that the woman had been institutionalized years ago for insisting that her fiance's death was actually murder, and that there is more to the case than meets the eye. The complicated (and at times gloriously seedy) plot soon has Roberts rubbing shoulders against an eccentric composer, a wife who's dependent on drugs to make her sleep and a crooked lawyer and up to her jaunty little cap in suicide, blackmail, corruption, deception, a couple of more murders, and more than a little mental illness. Yeah, it sounds like a real potboiler, but by most accounts, it's a good one, and makes full use of its local cast and colour.
Anderson in particular shines. As Roberts, she's supposedly "two-thirds Teresa Wright and a third Bonita Granville; the latter impression no doubt derives from her sleuthing around in a jaunty tam, like Nancy Drew," according to bmacv on the Internet Movie Database. "She has the distinction (as does the director, the short-lived Fedor Ozep, as he's credited here) of helping to make the best Nancy Drew mystery ever released. That's faint praise, but praise nonetheless... the locale is Quebec City, that odd European fortress set high over the St. Lawrence River; it comes to Gallic life more fully here than in Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess, made a few years later."
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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