Movie Review: Midnight Lace (1960)

Synopsis: Three months after getting married and moving to London with her new husband, American Kit Preston is walking home in a thick fog when an unseen man threatens to kill her. At first, she is convinced it is just a sick prank. But, the man begins to make obscene phone calls to her with promises she'll be dead by the end of the month. As the calls begin to take their toll, she finds nobody around her believes her because they think she is just making the whole thing up so her workaholic husband will pay attention to her.

Who's in it? The movie stars Doris Day, Rex Harrison, John Gavin, Myrna Loy and Natasha Parry.

Review: I've reached that time of the year when I have an excessive amount of vacation time that needs to be used by the end of the year and, to burn it off, I begin working some half days. I did this yesterday and, after mowing the front yard, wound up watching this movie while waiting to pick up my oldest daughter after school. Overall, I have to say I really liked this film.

As I've said in the past, I love a good mystery. And, in the case of this film, the mystery starts from the very beginning and stays a mystery pretty much until the very end.

For one, since the viewer isn't allowed to hear Kit's (Day) "obscene" stalker, it is quite possible everyone around her is correct and she is either imagining the calls or is making everything up. Not helping her case is the fact the calls seem to happen after her husband (Harrison) disappoints her in some way. As a result of this, even though I suspected that wasn't really the case, I wasn't completely sure either, especially when she did actually wind up lying to her husband in an effort to get him to take her seriously. If she could do it once, then who's to say she didn't do it before?

On top of it, if she wasn't making the whole thing up, there wasn't really an obvious suspect or motive. She was recently married and only moved to London three months earlier. Unless there was something about her past she was keeping hidden, there seemed to be no reason behind the stalking. And, when she sees a stranger in her apartment (Anthony Dawson) and is later pushed in front of a bus, it only raises more questions.

In fact, the only one who seemed to have the capability of doing it was her maid's son (Roddy McDowall) and, once he became an obvious red herring, we were just left with her husband, her Aunt Bea (Loy), the construction foreman, Brian Younger (Gavin), her neighbor, Peggy (Parry) and a handful of secondary characters. None of them seemed to have any sort of motive for driving her insane (though I did suspect it might have something to do with the missing money discovered at her husband's finance company).

I also found I loved Doris Day in this role. She was very believable when her character started to mentally crack under the stress, to the point I really felt sorry for her. I honestly haven't watched too many of her films. But, after seeing this performance, I might have to make an effort to do that in the future. If nothing else, her performance made this film very believable.

Final Opinion: This is an interesting thriller with a good plot and a very tough mystery. I would recommend taking the time to watch it if you get a chance.

My Grade: A


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