AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Alternate Title: Personal Column
Director: Douglas Sirk (Dir)
Release Date:   1947
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 28 Aug 1947; Los Angeles opening: 14 Oct 1947
Production Date:   late Oct--mid-Dec 1946; retakes began late Jan 1947 at General Service Studios
Duration (in mins):   102 or 106
Duration (in feet):   9,228
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Cast:   George Sanders (Robert Fleming)  
    Lucille Ball (Sandra Carpenter)  
    Charles Coburn (Inspector Harley Temple)  
    Boris Karloff (Artist)  
    Sir Cedric Hardwicke (Julian Wilde)  
    Joseph Calleia (Dr. Moryani)  
    Alan Mowbray (Lyle Maxwell)  
    George Zucco (Officer Barrett)  
    Robert Coote    
    Alan Napier    
    Tanis Chandler (Lucy Barnard)  
    Alex Frazer    
    Ann Codee    
    Gerald Hamer    
    Colin Campbell    
    Charles Coleman    
    Dorothy Vaughan    

Summary: In London, Scotland Yard investigators receive the latest in a series of cryptic poems authored by an elusive killer and conclude that his seventh victim will be a dancer. Inspector Harley Temple of the Criminal Investigation Department orders a typewriter and fingerprint analysis of the poem, but the identity of the "Poet Killer," as he has been named, eludes investigators. While the police investigation continues, English dance hall hostess Lucy Barnard and American dancer Sandra Carpenter are offered auditions by producers Robert Fleming and Julian Wilde for their new stage show. Though Sandra accepts the offer, Lucy refuses and explains that she is quitting the dance hall circuit to travel with a handsome man she met through a personal advertisement. When Lucy disappears a short time later, Temple believes that she has fallen victim to the killer. After locating Sandra, the last known person to have seen Lucy, Temple hires her to act as a decoy to trap the killer. As part of her assignment, Sandra sets out to answer all the personal advertisements in the newspaper in which pretty women are sought. After an introduction to an assortment of strange men, including an eccentric artist who at first appears menancing but turns out to be harmless, Sandra answers an advertisement that leads to a job as a parlor maid for aristocrat Lyle Maxwell. Meanwhile, Fleming, an irrepressible playboy, orders his assistants to find Sandra, whom he has not met, but whose beautiful telephone voice has enchanted him. Robert meets Sandra by coincidence one evening when they both attend the same concert. The two fall instantly in love and become engaged, but soon after moving into Robert's home, Sandra finds evidence indicating that Robert knew Lucy. Temple, meanwhile, has discovered a passage in the latest poem he received from the killer that suggests that Robert is the culprit and that Sandra is his next intended victim. Robert is arrested, and although he is innocent, he refuses to defend himself at his trial because he feels that Sandra has betrayed him. Temple later suspects that Robert is being framed by someone else and, with Sandra's help, proves that Wilde, Robert's housemate, is the real killer. Wilde's guilt is revealed in time to save Robert from execution, and Robert resumes his romance with Sandra. 

Production Company: Oakmont Pictures, Inc.  
Production Text: A Hunt Stromberg Production
Distribution Company: United Artists Corp.  
Director: Douglas Sirk (Dir)
  Clarence Eurist (Asst dir)
Producer: Hunt Stromberg (Pres)
  James Nasser (Prod)
  Henry Kesler (Assoc prod)
  Hunt Stromberg (Exec prod)
Writer: Leo Rosten (Scr)
Photography: William Daniels (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Nicolai Remisoff (Prod des and art dir)
  Victor Greene (Asst art dir)
Film Editor: James E. Newcom (Supv film ed)
  John M. Foley (Film ed)
Costumes: Elois Jenssen (Gowns)
Music: Michel Michelet (Mus)
  David Chudnow (Mus supv)
Sound: John Carter (Sd)
  Joe Kane (Sd)
Make Up: Josephine Sweeney (Hairstylist)
  Don Cash (Makeup)
Production Misc: C. Ramsay-Hill (Tech adv)
Country: United States

Music: Selections from Symphony no. 8 in B minor ("Unfinished Symphony") by Franz Schubert.
Songs: "All for Love," composer undetermined.
Composer: Franz Schubert
Source Text: Based on the screenplay Pièges by Jacques Companeez, Ernest Neuville and Simon Gantillon (France, 1939).
Authors: Jacques Companeez
  Ernest Neuville
  Simon Gantillon

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Oakmont Pictures, Inc. 5/9/1947 dd/mm/yyyy LP1292

PCA NO: 12247
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

Genre: Mystery
Subjects (Major): Classified advertisements
  Nightclub owners
  Undercover operations
Subjects (Minor): Americans in foreign countries
  Dance hall girls
  Dance halls
  Fashion shows
  London (England)
  Missing persons, Assumed dead
  Police inspectors
  Scotland Yard (London, England)

Note: The working title of this film was Personal Column . Although SAB lists Jacques Companeez, Ernest Neuville and Simon Gantillon as authors of a novel entitled Pièges , no publication information has been found. The 1939 French film Pièges , made by Speva Films, was directed by Robert Siodmak and starred Marie Déa and Madeleine Geoffroy. In addition to their work on Pièges , Companeez, Neuville and Gantillon collaborated on many other French films. Lured was the first production of Oakmont Pictures, a company formed in Nov 1945 by distributor James Nasser and producer Henry Kesler. The original name of the company was Crystal Pictures, Inc.
       According to a Dec 1945 LAT news item, Nasser and Kesler initially hired Norman Reilly Raine to write the screenplay, but his contribution to the completed film has not been confirmed. The DV review credits writer Leo Rosten with both screenplay and story treatment, but no other source lists him that way. Although Boris Karloff is billed fourth in the credits, he only appears in one scene. According to a mid-Dec HR news item, Lucille Ball "collapsed on the set" of the film, shutting down production for three days. HR news items add the following actors to the cast: David Cavendish, Stuart Hall, Wyndham Standing, Gordon Constable, Cyril Delevanti, Konstantin Shayne and Eddie Parks. Their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   20 Nov 1945.   
Daily Variety   15 Jul 1947.   
Film Daily   18 Jul 47   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Oct 46   p. 23.
Hollywood Reporter   1 Nov 46   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Nov 46   p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Nov 46   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Dec 46   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Dec 46   p. 30.
Hollywood Reporter   31 Jan 47   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Jul 47   p. 3.
Los Angeles Times   10 Dec 1945.   
Los Angeles Times   15 Oct 1947.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   19 Jul 1947.   
New York Times   29 Aug 47   p. 14.
Variety   16 Jul 47   p. 14.

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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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