AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Nocturne
Director: Edwin L. Marin (Dir)
Release Date:   29 Oct 1946
Production Date:   21 May--mid-Jun 1946
Duration (in mins):   86-88
Duration (in feet):   7,832
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Cast:   George Raft ([Lieutenant] Joe Warne)  
    Lynn Bari (Frances Ransom)  
    Virginia Huston (Carol Page)  
    Joseph Pevney ([Ned] Fingers [Ford])  
    Myrna Dell (Susan [Flanders])  
    Edward Ashley ([Keith] Vincent)  
    Walter Sande (Halberson)  
    Mabel Paige (Mrs. Warne)  
    Bernard Hoffman (Torp)  
    Queenie Smith (Queenie)  
    Mack Gray (Gratz)  
    Pat Flaherty (Policeman with Susan)  
    Lorin Raker (Police chemist)  
    William Challee (Police photographer)  
    Greta Grandstedt (Clara)  
    Lillian Bond (Mrs. Billings)  
    Carol Forman (Receptionist)  
    Robert Malcolm (Earn)  
    Jim Pierce (Policeman)  
    Willie Bloom (Policeman)  
    Roger Creed (Policeman)  
    Ed Dearing (Policeman)  
    John Banner (Shawn)  
    Phil Baribault (Dark room assistant)  
    Rudy Robles (Eujemio)  
    Janet Shaw (Grace)  
    Ted O'Shea (Dancer)  
    Harry Harvey (Police doctor)  
    Lee Frederick (Attendant)  
    Robert Andersen (Pat)  
    William Wright (Mr. Billings)  
    Broderick O'Farrell (Billings' butler)  
    Virginia Edwards (Mrs. O'Rourke)  
    Virginia Keiley (Lotus Evans)  
    James Carlisle (Elderly man)  
    Paul Stader (Practical life guard)  
    Antonio Filauri (Nick Pappas)  
    Jack Norton (Drunk)  
    John Rice (Doorman)  
    Al Hill (Policeman at Brown Derby)  
    Edward Clark (Apartment house clerk)  
    Dorothy Adams (Tenant)  
    Lillian Bronson (Cashier at Gotham)  
    Gladys Blake (Ticker seller)  
    Sam Flint (Manager)  
    Al Rhein (Waiter at Keyboard Club)  
    Benny Burt (Bartender at Keyboard Club)  
    Matt McHugh (Coffee attendant)  
    Lucille Casey (Bessie)  
    Donald Kerr (Gaffer)  
    Dick Rush (Studio policeman)  
    Bert Moorehouse (Director)  
    George Goodman (Manager of Keyboard Club)  
    Tex Swan    
    Betty Farrington    
    Mel Wixon    
    Connie Evans    
    Bob Terry    
    Doris Stone    
    Monya Andre    
    Betty Hill    
    Carol Donell    
    Eleanor Counts    
    Lloyd Dawson    
    Norma Brown    

Summary: As playboy songwriter Keith Vincent callously ends an affair with a woman he calls Dolores while at the same time working on "Nocturne," his latest composition, he is shot and killed. Although Halberson, the head of the police investigation, later rules the death a suicide because Vincent's fingerprints are on the gun and powder burns appear on his hand, homicide detective Lieutenant Joe Warne is skeptical. While inspecting the crime scene, Joe notes that Vincent was still composing his song, which he had dedicated to "Dolores," when he died and kept a gallery of photographs of his lovers on his living room wall. After Vincent's servant, Eujemio, informs Joe that Vincent referred to all of his lovers as "Dolores," Joe questions the women in the photographs one by one. When the interviews yield nothing, Joe returns to Vincent's and notices a spot on the wall where a photograph had once been. Joe tracks the missing lover through a photographic studio run by a man named Shawn and interrogates the woman, Frances Ransom, at a swank swimming pool. Although Frances, a bit movie actress, gives Joe a detailed alibi, he quickly concludes that her story is a lie. Before Joe can follow up on his suspicions, however, he is suspended from the force for his brutish interrogation techniques. Unfazed by the suspension, Joe invites Frances to the Keyboard Club, where Frances' sister, Carol Page, sings. Joe asks pianist Ned "Fingers" Ford to play "Nocturne" and watches how Frances and Carol react to the tune. While Frances is nonplussed, Carol appears disturbed, and Joe decides to follow Carol home. There Carol admits that she heard Frances playing the song and knows that she was with Vincent on the night of his death. Carol also says that Frances removed her photograph a week before Vincent's demise, shortly after he had jilted her. Despite his growing attraction to Frances, Joe returns to her apartment and bluntly asks her "how she did it." Frances denies Joe's charges and permits Torp, Finger's hulking piano pusher, to beat him. At the police hospital, Joe runs into Susan Flanders, Vincent's ex-convict housemaid, who also has been badly beaten, but is unable to extract any information out of her. Joe's worldly mother, meanwhile, discusses the case at home with a friend and, while showing the friend how Vincent could not have been forced to shoot himself, accidentally fires a blank against Joe's temple. The accident convinces Joe that the powder burns on Vincent's hand could have been left by using his hand to fire a blank into the actual wound. Armed with this information, Joe corners Frances on a movie set, but is quickly turned away. Responding to a telephone message, Joe then goes to Shawn's studio, but finds the photographer's body hanging from the ceiling. He then rushes over to Frances' apartment and arrives in time to save her from gas asphyxiation. After Joe pockets a typed suicide note that implicates Frances in both Vincent's and Shawn's death, he returns to the Keyboard Club, where he and Torp fight. The victorious Joe then accuses Carol, whom he has discovered was also having an affair with Vincent, of murder. Carol pleads innocence, but is startled when a revived Frances enters the club. Eventually, Joe forces Fingers, who is secretly married to Carol, to confess that he killed Vincent out of jealousy, murdered Shawn to silence him and tried to kill Frances because she was about to unravel their scheme. In addition, Fingers admits that Torp beat up Susan because she was blackmailing Carol. As Fingers and Joe then struggle over Fingers' gun, the police arrive and arrest Fingers. Vindicated, Frances faces a happy future with Joe. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Edwin L. Marin (Dir)
  James Anderson (Asst dir)
Producer: Joan Harrison (Prod)
  Jack J. Gross (Exec prod)
Writer: Jonathan Latimer (Scr)
  Frank Fenton (Story)
  Rowland Brown (Story)
Photography: Harry J. Wild (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino (Art dir)
  Robert Boyle (Prod des)
Film Editor: Elmo Williams (Ed)
Set Decoration: Darrell Silvera (Set dec)
  James Altwies (Set dec)
Costumes: Renie (Gowns)
Music: C. Bakaleinikoff (Mus dir)
  Leigh Harline (Mus)
Sound: Jean L. Speak (Sd)
  Terry Kellum (Sd)
Special Effects: Russell A. Cully (Spec eff)
  Harold Palmer (Mont)
Production Misc: Barney Ruditsky (Tech adv)
Stand In: Edwin "Buddy" Cole (Piano double for Joseph Pevney)
  Martha Mears (Singing double for Virginia Huston)
Country: United States

Songs: "Nocturne," music by Leigh Harline, lyrics by Mort Greene; "Why Pretend" and "A Little Bit Is Better Than None," music and lyrics by Eleanor Rudolph.
Composer: Mort Greene
  Leigh Harline
  Eleanor Rudolph

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 2/1/1947 dd/mm/yyyy LP866

PCA NO: 11695
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Mystery
Sub-Genre: Police
 
Subjects (Major): Cads
  Murder
  Police detectives
  Romance
 
Subjects (Minor): Blackmail
  Confession (Law)
  Ex-convicts
  Fights
  Forensics
  Gases, Asphyxiating and poisonous
  Hanging
  Jealousy
  Los Angeles (CA)
  Maids
  Marriage--Secret
  Motion picture actors and actresses
  Motion picture studios
  Nightclubs
  Photographers
  Photographs
  Pianists
  Sisters
  Songs
  Songwriters
  Suicide
  Swimming pools

Note: Nocturne was producer Joan Harrison's first assignment for RKO. According to a HR news item, Harrison, a former associate of Alfred Hitchcock, also worked on the screenplay, but the exact nature of her contribution has not been determined. The film also marked the motion picture debut of actor Joseph Pevney (1911--2008). Pevney appeared in a number of films prior to becoming a director, first for feature films, then for television. Among his television credits are numerous episodes of the cult series Star Trek . RKO borrowed Lynn Bari from Twentieth Century-Fox for the production. HR news items note that filming was to take place "all over Hollywood," including the Pantages Theatre, Hollywood Studio Club and the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. Modern sources add that the film grossed $568,000 in profits. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   12 Oct 1946.   
Down Beat   15 Jan 47   p. 7.
Daily Variety   15 Oct 46   p. 3
Film Daily   24 Oct 46   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Nov 45   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   16 May 46   p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Oct 46   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Nov 46   p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   20 Jun 46   p. 3055.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   19 Oct 46   p. 3261.
New York Times   11 Nov 46   p. 42.
Variety   16 Oct 46   p. 8.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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