Lured (1948): Movie Review

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Lured (1948), directed by Douglas Sirk in high style, presents George Sanders as a good guy detective from Scotland Yard and Lucille Ball as a woman working with Scotland Yard who presents herself as bait to help draw a murderer out of hiding in London in this slightly satirical but enjoyable “gaslight melodrama”. Among the suspects are Boris Karloff, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Alan Napier, and George Zucco. Btw, Boris Karloff’s brief, highly amusing madman alone makes this movie worthwhile, but all the actors look as though they are having stylish fun, and I don’t think that Lucy ever looked more beautiful than she does in this role. What a shame that Hollywood never seemed to know what to do with her in the ’40s, leaving us with just a handful of screen appearances in better than average movies that decade, such as this movie, Dance, Girl, Dance (1940) and The Big Street (1942). Each in their own way hint at her considerable dramatic as well as comic potential.

There is a flair with which this movie was made that seems to indicate that the production may have been approached as a bit of a lark by the filmmakers. While the material is quite dark at times, there is a vein of humor running through the movie that was an enjoyable counterpoint to the grand guignol aspects of the plot. Also, considering that he is remembered as the most elegant of knaves in the movies, any time you get a chance to see George Sanders be noble, stalwart and true (but never dull) is very refreshing. Along with A Scandal in Paris (1946), I suspect that Sirk, whose hothouse “women’s pictures” in the following decade can be heavy sledding for this viewer, (with a few exceptions such as The Tarnished Angels and A Time to Love and a Time to Die) was having more fun here than in his later, more coded, subversive genre films.

They say that Moira was “born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad”?…no, no, maybe that description is best left to Rafael Sabatini and his characters. Actually, Moira’s checkered past includes a stint as a silversmith, caterer, scribe for a government agency, technical and creative writer, corporate instructor, and trail guide through the financial woods in this topsy turvy world. Needless, to say, all this experience has sometimes led to a profound affection for the glorious escapism of the films of the classic studio era. The beauty of a well-lit black and white scene as it flickers and glows while telling a tale of human beings without any noticeable CGI makes her heart sing. If you’d like to read more of her musings and continue to explore the abiding joy of exploring classic movies, you are welcome to join her at her personal blog, Skeins of Thought and at TCM’s classic movie blog, MovieMorlocks.com .

  • species1859

    I am afraid George Sanders, although he did play a “good guy”, played the owner of a chain of nightclubs. Lucy looked great and was lucky enough to have an affair with George.