The film’s deceptively leisurely pace at the start, and its light, careless air, only heighten the suspense without the audience being conscious of the buildup. What they are aware of as they follow the story [from the novel by Vera Caspary] is the skill in the telling. Situations neatly dovetail and are always credible. Developments, surprising as they come, are logical. The dialog is honest, real and adult.
The yarn concerns an attractive femme art executive who has been brutally murdered in her New York apartment, and the attempts of a police lieutenant to solve the case. Beginning by interviewing the girl’s intimates, the sleuth’s trail leads him from one friend to another, all becoming suspect in the process.
Clifton Webb makes a debonair critic-columnist. Dana Andrews’ intelligent, reticent performance as the lieutenant gives the lie to detectives as caricatures. Gene Tierney makes an appealing figure as the art executive and Vincent Price is convincing as a weak-willed ne’er-do-well.
1944: Best B&W Cinematography.
Nominations: Best Director, Supp. Actor (Clifton Webb), Screenplay, B&W Art Direction