Black Limelight (1938)

Article #1026 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-5-2004
Posting Date: 6-3-2004
Directed by Paul L. Stein
Featuring Joan Marion, Raymond Massey, Elliott Mason

A woman discovers that her husband is wanted by the police on suspicion of being a serial killer.

The “Black Limelight” of the title is a metaphor to capture the experience of becoming well-known for infamy, and though this theme serves as a backdrop for some of the events, it really doesn’t seem to be the center of the story. The serial killer angle is what moves the story into horror territory, and the question of the man’s guilt is what drives the story. The first half is a talky drama, with some unnecessary characters and subplots, and it isn’t really until the husband shows up that things start to really take off, and it ends strongly. The best moment is a monologue delivered by Joan Marion in which she ponders the reason why her husband found it necessary to have an affair (the last victim of the killer was the husband’s lover).


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