The Secret of the Whistler (1946)

Article 3289 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-26-2010
Posting Date: 8-16-2010
Directed by George Sherman
Featuring Richard Dix, Leslie Brooks, Michael Duane
Country: USA
What it is: Mystery, Whistler style

An artist, married to an ailing rich woman, becomes enamored with one of his models, and hopes to marry her when his wife passes away. However, when the wife recovers, he finds himself tempted to make sure she has a relapse…

As is often the case with this series, the only fantastic content is the Whistler himself, who is more of a narrator than an actual element of the story. This is one of the weaker entries in the series; it’s very well acted and opts for subtlety over histrionics, but the story itself is a little too ordinary to be really satisfying. There are some striking moments, though; I in particular like the opening scene in which a woman purchases a tombstone… for herself. There’s also a certain irony in the fact that a certain page in a diary would have the effect of both incriminating the husband as well as clearing him. And I do admire the way that the characters are defined by their actions rather than by what they say; we have a good idea of the model’s intentions without her ever having to say them because we see what she’s doing with the knowledge she has. All in all, the Whistler series was very well done, and even at its weakest, it has its points of interest.


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