Mary Roberts
Created by Michael Lennox and George Zuckerman

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."
 
FILM

  • WHISPERING CITY
    AKA "Crime City"
    (1947, Eagle-Lion/Québec Productions)
    98 minutes, black and white
    Story by Michael Lennox and George Zuckerman
    Screenplay by Rian James and Leonard Lee
    Additional dialogue by Sydney Banks, Gina Kaus, Hugh Kemp
    Directed by Fedor Ozep (Fyodor Otsep)
    Cinematography by Charles Quick, Guy Roe  
    Original Music by Morris C. Davis  
    Non-Original Music by Andre Marthieu, from "The Quebec Concerto" 
    Produced by George Marton
    Associate producer: Roger Wood
    Executive producer: Paul L'Anglais
    Starring Paul Lukas as Albert Frédéric
    and Mary Anderson as MARY ROBERTS
    Also starring
    Helmut Dantine, John Pratt, George Alexander, Joy Lafleur, Mimi D'Estée, Arthur Lefebvre, Lucie Poitras, J. Léo Gagnon, Réjeanne Desrameaux, Germaine Lemyre, Blanche Gauthier, Palmieri, Henri Poitras, Louis-Philippe Hébert, Neil O'Keefe, R.J. Jarvis, Ovila Légaré, Jean Deslauriers, Neil Chotem, Teddy Burns Goulet

NOVELIZATION

  • Whispering City (1947, by Horace Brown)

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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