The Power of the Whistler (1945)

Article #1106 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Day: 3-25-2004
Posting Day: 8-22-2004
Directed by Lew Landers
Featuring Richard Dix, Janis Carter, Jeff Donnell

When a woman reads the fortune of a stranger and sees death in his future, she tries to warn him but discovers that due to a head injury, he has lost his memory. She then tries to aid him in recovering his memory and discovering his identity.

This is the first I’ve seen of a movie series based on a radio series about the Whistler, who is not actually a character in the action but an all-knowing narrator. I’d heard about the series and was looking forward to seeing some of them, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. This movie starts with an intriguing situation which gets positively bizarre as they follow up clues (the contents of the man’s pockets) that lead to blind alleys and strange coincidences, and things get steadily more ominous as the investigation continues. Clues include a prescription written by a doctor who has been dead for fifty years, a birthday cake delivered to the warden of an asylum, and flowers delivered to a showgirl. Scenes of a girl crying over a damaged doll, and the discovery of a dead bird and a dead squirrel all add to the unease as you find yourself unraveling the truth as the characters do. The only problem I had was that the actual narration from the Whistler was a little intrusive and annoying at times, though the opening shots of the main character being followed by a shadow that is not his are suitably eerie. This entry is well worth investigating for anyone curious about the series.


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