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A composer who can't control his creative temperament turns to murder.
In the early 1900s, composer George Harvey Bone finds himself walking along Fulham Road in London, and, unaware that he has just murdered an antique dealer named Ogilby, struggles to remember the events of the previous night. When George reaches his flat in Hangover Square, he is greeted by his friend Barbara and her father, Sir Henry Chapman. Sir Henry is pleased with George's progress on a new concerto and offers to conduct it at a soirée he is hosting in the winter. George is delighted by Sir Henry's generosity, but later reveals to Barbara that he has had another blackout and is uncertain about the origin of the bloodstained dagger in his pocket. Just then, George and Barbara hear a newsboy shout out the news of a murder in Fulham, and George decides to follow his doctor's recommendation and consult Allan Middleton, a Scotland Yard doctor who specializes in problems of the mind. George explains to Middleton that while he has always had "black moods," lately they have lasted longer, and he fears that he could be capable of violence. Middleton's questions prompt George to disclose that he has been working too hard, and that the moods are initiated by any loud, discordant sound. Middleton then promises to investigate and sends George home. Later that night, Middleton visits George and assures him that he must be innocent of Ogilby's murder, as the blood on George's coat was his own, and the disreputable nature of Ogilby's clientele has led police to suspect revenge or theft as the motive for the murder and subseqent burning of the shop. Middleton cautions George against working so much and advises him to relax more, and so George goes to a pub. There, George is stunned by beautiful singer Netta Longdon, whose pianist boyfriend, Mickey, is a friend of George's. George introduces himself to Netta, but her interest in him is piqued only when he plays a captivating tune. The scheming Netta flirts with George and induces him to look after her cat in order to get him to compose for her. George's song brings in a profit for Mickey and Netta, and Mickey encourages Netta to continue to date George, even though she finds him dull. George is unaware of Mickey's relationship with Netta, and is infuriated one night when he discovers that Netta has broken a date with him in order to sing at a nightclub for theatrical producer Eddie Carstairs. Barbara, who has witnessed George's confrontation with Netta, reprimands him for wasting his talent on a common singer, and George's agitation leads to another blackout when he hears a loud noise. While in his trance, George attempts to strangle Barbara with a thuggee cord made from a drape sash, but stops and escapes without being seen. Unaware that George was her attacker, Barbara seeks comfort from him, and he promises to finish his concerto. George then works compusively on his composition and days later is visited by Netta, who chastises him for neglecting her. George informs Netta that he is through with her, but her seductive charm overcomes his resolve, and he forgets his concerto to write more songs for her opening night at Carstairs' theater. Believing that Netta has promised herself to him, George proposes to her a week later and is heartbroken to discover that she is engaged to Carstairs. George staggers home, but a loud noise throws him into a trance and he returns to Netta's hotel, where he strangles her. After rolling Netta's body in a carpet and covering her face with a mask, George carries her to the top of a massive Guy Fawkes Day bonfire, and soon all evidence of George's crime has vanished. The police are baffled by Netta's disappearance, and Middleton is puzzled by reports that George was acting suspiciously on the night she was last seen. George denies any culpability and finishes his concerto, although mounting evidence prompts Middleton to question him repeatedly. On the night of Sir Henry's soiree, Middleton asks George to come to Scotland Yard, but George locks him in a coal shed and goes to the Chapmans' house. There, as George is playing piano under Sir Henry's direction, memories of killing Netta overwhelm him. He runs off to another room while Barbara continues the performance, then makes a full confession to Middleton, who has been freed. Middleton gently tells George that he is not responsible for his actions, but when Superintendent Clay insists that George be arrested before the end of the concerto, George eludes his captors and sets the Chapman house on fire. Completely insane, George plays the finale while the house burns down around him, and Middleton assures the distraught Barbara and Sir Henry that "it's better this way."
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 7 Feb 1945|
|Release Date:||1945||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Sound System)||Production Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
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The Great Laird
He deserved to be known by the name,Laird.He was Samuel Laird Cregar from a well-to-do Philly family,his father a cricketer.He was private school...
Laird Cregar's Amazing Work
K. Ward 2014-10-12
I can't imagine anyone playing Netta but Linda Darnell after seeing the film.Does anyone know if Laird Cregar did in fact play piano in all the scenes...
When I want to recommend little known dramatic film gem to anyone, I think of this film. Just watched it again on TCM's Linda Darnell day (8/27/11)...