Lured (1947) Poster

(1947)

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8/10
All For Love
krorie1 July 2006
This excellent noir film was somewhat copied forty years later as "Sea of Love," with several changes bringing it up-to-date. One surprise in store for viewers is the comic talents of George Zucco, obviously kept hidden throughout most of his brilliant acting career. He is an excellent comedic sparring partner for Lucille Ball. They work well as a team, providing laughs that are sorely needed in an otherwise serious murder mystery thriller. Boris Karloff adds to the fun as well, giving a monster performance as an insane dress designer--can you believe? The stellar lineup also includes the likes of George Sanders, Charles Coburn, Cedric Hardwicke, and Alan Mowbray. The cast alone is worth the price of admission.

Directed with savvy by Douglas Sirk, the film has a script put together by a hodgepodge of writers. Still, the dialog is filled with witty and intelligent lines. The mystery will keep the viewer guessing until the serial killer is revealed. There are red herrings along the way to lead the best sleuth astray. Even when the movie seems to be ending with the mystery solved, it becomes the wrong solution to the case under investigation. The film proceeds to fool the viewer a second time before the ultimate meanie is apprehended. There are thrills aplenty throughout this delicious cinematic whodunit.

The story involves a serial killer running amok in London who kills beautiful young women lured by newspaper ads. The madman fancies himself a poet copying his style from the dark poetry of Charles Baudelaire, who once wrote about a tempting woman being more beautiful in death. One such poem is sent to Scotland Yard before each murder. Inspector Harley Temple (Coburn) is determined to catch the psycho any way possible, even using a young woman, Sandra Carpenter (Ball), as a decoy to lure the monster out into the open. Sandra is chosen when she inquires about her good friend's disappearance. Coincidentally, her friend's moniker is Lucy. In the process of finding the perpetrator of the crimes, Sandra makes several interesting encounters, eventually meeting a stranger named Robert Fleming (Sanders) with whom she falls in love. Their favorite song becomes "All For Love," which serves as a clue in the mystery.
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9/10
An EXCELLENT film!
normv16 November 2001
For those of you who only know Ms. Ball as the "dizzy redhead" in the 50's sitcoms, you're in for a TREAT!

Before making the above, she was in many films -- Marx Brothers, The "Annabel" series, and this great film.

Backed by a solid cast (Zucco, Sanders, Karloff, Napier, Coburn), she acts as the "bait" to lure a London killer out of hiding.

Even tho (at least to ME) it was obvious who the killer is, it is fascinating watching her in a non-comedy role! And, she certainly was lovely!

If you get a chance to see this, DO SO! You won't be disappointed! It's a shame that she didn't make more films in this genre.
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7/10
Lured (1947) ***
JoeKarlosi15 March 2005
An interesting curio for Lucille Ball fans as well as those who enjoy old horror and mystery films. This one is worth seeing for its cast alone, featuring (in addition to Ms. Ball): Boris Karloff, Sir Cecric Hardwicke, Alan Napier, George Zucco and George Sanders! This solid mystery/thriller stars Lucille Ball in a dramatic part before she became Lucy Ricardo. She plays a feisty American gal in England who is hired by Scotland Yard to go undercover to trap a serial killer who claimed one of her friends. Boris Karloff's role is a small one but it's absolutely wonderful, and it's an essential watch for the actors' legion of fans. George Zucco is a cop who keeps an eye out for Ball to make sure she doesn't get into too much trouble. *** out of ****
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6/10
"I'm afraid you'll never see your friend again"
ackstasis26 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Director Douglas Sirk is generally known for producing weepy melodramas, so 'Lured (1947)' seemed like an exciting exception to the rule. The title alone has the feel of a dark and claustrophobic film noir thriller, with stark silhouettes skulking in alleyways and the shadow of gnarled fingers reaching toward a heroine's throat. The Production Code Administration apparently took a dislike to the film's name, perhaps conjuring up similar mental images to my own, and the film's title was subsequently changed to the less-lurid 'Personal Column,' which sounds more like a Lubitsch romantic comedy. Neither title quite does justice to the film's tone, which is somewhere between thriller and melodrama, stranded hopelessly in middle-ground between the two distinct genres. An impressive cast – including Lucille Ball, George Sanders, Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, Joseph Calleia and Charles Coburn – does its best with the uneven material. The tone of the screenplay shifts markedly between the moody and sophisticated first half and the less-interesting second, when each character abandons all the traits that had made them appealing.

Sandra Carpenter (Ball) is a smart-mouthed taxi dancer, the sort of girl who doesn't take any nonsense from the opposite sex. When her colleague goes missing after answering an ad in the newspaper personals column, the police suspect that she is the latest victim of a deranged serial killer, who sends the authorities flowery poetry readings to boast of his crimes. To prevent the next murder, Sandra is unexpectedly recruited to identify the man responsible, going undercover as his next prospective victim. Among the suspects is Boris Karloff, unfortunately underused as a hilariously demented fashion designer, and George Sanders, playing one of those charmingly smug suitors that he always played so well. Veteran cinematographer William Daniel's creates a nice, moody black-and-white atmosphere, perhaps lacking the grittiness of your typical 1940s film noir, though that would hardly have worked alongside a screenplay where even the most depraved murderers speak with a high degree of elegance and sophistication. Apparently, that's just how everybody is in England.

The first half of the film delicately develops a mysterious and slightly Gothic air of uneasiness, and then something happens: Douglas Sirks' melodramatic instincts kick in, and his characters suddenly become less interesting than before. Lucille Ball's sassy and independent woman becomes enamoured with George Sanders, discarding all her saucy wise-cracks in favour of the anguished cries of a weepy and vulnerable damsel-in-distress. Sanders, likewise, is effectively neutered by the onset of love, losing his indomitable lust and becoming all quiet and contemplative. George Sanders quiet and contemplative, you say? Outrageous! Even so, Cedric Hardwicke singlehandedly rescues the film's final half, refusing to subdue his grotesque depravity even before we're supposed to guess that he's the man responsible for the serial murders. I don't know if I could confidently recommend 'Lured' to fans of Douglas Sirk, but the excellent cast of actors means that most viewers should find some degree of fulfillment in his unusual brand of film noir film-making. This is worth a look.
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7/10
Fun film
blanche-211 May 2011
In a way, it's easy to see why Lucille Ball did not achieve mega movie stardom. By the time she was getting decent roles, she was in her thirties, and back in those days, that was getting long in the tooth. Though she was beautiful, she had the delivery of a character woman -- great comic timing and dry wit. I suspect Hollywood wasn't sure what to do with her -- too pretty for the Eve Arden roles, and not ingenue enough for the leading lady ones.

In "Lured," Ball plays Sandra Carpenter, an American dancer living in London whose good friend and fellow dancer disappears after answering a personal ad. The police, led by Inspector Temple (Charles Coburn) have been frustrated by a series of poems they have been receiving before a murder of a young woman takes place. They feel helpless. When it turns out that Sandra's friend is a victim of the mad poet, the Harley asks Sandra to act as bait and answer suspect ads. They will be watching her at all times.

Sandra has some strange adventures -- one with a whack job (Boris Karloff) who wants to paint her in costume, and then she is invited to a concert where her date does not show up. There, she meets wealthy Robert Fleming (George Sanders) who sweeps her off her feet. Could he be the killer? Could it be the strange doctor she meets? There are a few suspects.

Well directed by Douglas Sirk, known later for his big glossy soap opera type films, "Lured" has suspense and atmosphere, though it moves from a mystery to a love story mid-script. However, the performances are very good - Lucy looks stunning in her gowns and she plays the down to earth, savvy young woman very well; George Sanders is smooth as silk, and the two have good chemistry. Sir Cedric Hardwicke gives a standout performance, and Coburn is excellent. "Alfred the Butler" from the Batman series, Alan Napier, is also in the film, as is George Zucco.

Recommended. Very enjoyable. Just wish the emphasis had been more on the mystery.
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6/10
Alluring!
BaronBl00d24 December 2004
Director Douglas Sirk, later best-known for sappy Hollywood melodramas, makes this early Lucille Ball vehicle about a killer that writes poetry to the police about the victim he is going to kill. Ball plays a dance hall girl that loses a friend and decides to help by joining the Scotland Yard force. She begins to answer personal ads by men looking for attractive young women. Along the way she comes in contact with a slaving-like operation and a bizarre eccentric fashion designer played with incredible gusto by Boris Karloff. Karloff has roughly 5 minutes of screen time, but boy does he know how to use it. This is a very enjoyable film. If you are looking for a lot of action - look somewhere else. What you get here is a lot of talk and character studies. The cast is one of the most complete I have seen in some time. George Sanders, Cedric Hardwicke, Charles Coburn, Robert Coote, Alan Napier, George Zucco and Alan Mowbray round out this incredibly talented cast. Zucco really stands out as a plain-clothes policeman. Ball is beautiful, and she does a very credible job in the lead. Sometimes I forget that she was a gorgeous woman with a lot of talent other than making you laugh. But that was certainly her greatest gift. Lured is a good, old-fashioned mystery yarn. The killer is painfully obvious about halfway through, but the actors go through the motions with obvious relish. Unfortunately the DVD release I had by KINO had nothing on it all all in terms of extras...didn't even separate chapters from main feature!
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7/10
Baudelaire, Beauty & Death
seymourblack-130 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This remake of Robert Siodmak's "Pieges" (1939) is an engaging thriller about Scotland Yard's pursuit of a London serial killer who attracts his victims by advertising in the newspapers' personal columns. The mysterious maniac, who's clever enough to have avoided being caught by the police, is also conceited as he regularly sends them notes that include poetry and clues to the identities of his forthcoming targets. Checks carried out by the police reveal that the killer's verses are strongly influenced by the works of Charles Baudelaire and betray a preoccupation with a perceived link between beauty and death. Furthermore, the typeface of these notes is so distinctive that they could only have been produced by one specific typewriter.

Sandra Carpenter (Lucille Ball) is a brash New York City dancer who'd travelled to London to work in a stage musical which had closed prematurely due to poor box office returns. After working for a while in her next job as a taxi-dancer in a popular dance hall, she becomes concerned when her fellow dancer and good friend Lucy Barnard (Tanis Chandler) goes missing. Police Inspector Harley Temple (Charles Coburn), is convinced that Lucy has become the killer's latest victim and so interviews Sandra. He quickly recognises her strong personal qualities and so invites her to assist in his hunt for the killer by acting as the bait to catch the culprit. Sandra readily agrees to work undercover as a temporary detective and then starts to systematically reply to each new personal ad that appears.

Through her work, Sandra meets a variety of contacts including a seriously deranged retired dress designer called Charles van Druten (Boris Karloff) and a strange character called Dr Nicholas Moryani (Joseph Calleia) who it later transpires is involved in transporting young women to work as slaves in South America. In another of her blind dates, her contact, who she was due to meet at a classical music concert, fails to turn up, but that evening at the concert she meets nightclub owner Robert Fleming (George Sanders) and very soon, they fall in love.

Robert is a sophisticated womaniser who lives in a large house with his business partner and close friend, Julian Wilde (Cedric Hardwicke). On the night of their engagement party, Sandra finds a number of suspicious items in Robert's desk (including Lucy's photograph) which lead to him being arrested and becoming the prime suspect in Inspector Temple's investigation but finding conclusive proof of his guilt proves to be extremely difficult.

"Lured" features a colourful collection of characters and the performances of its top quality cast are consistently good. Lucille Ball is irrepressible despite the number of times that her character has to be rescued from threatening situations and the unorthodox ways in which her bodyguard, Detective H.R. Barrett (George Zucco) finds the solutions to his crossword puzzles are also quite amusing. The emphasis in making this film was clearly on producing an upbeat thriller which has many of the characteristics of a routine whodunit (e.g. numerous red herrings) and judged purely on this basis, it is very successful and entertaining.
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10/10
Excellent Thriller
johnnydeco12 February 2008
Great Film Noir, Well acted by all, One of the best 1940's crime movies, George Sanders and Lucille Ball have perfect chemistry, The movie will keep you guessing until the end. This "rediscovered" classic from 1947 has one of Lucille Ball's best dramatic roles of her career. A Jack-the-Ripper-like serial killer is looking for and murdering beautiful young women, and Lucille Ball's characters friend is the killer's latest victim. Wanting desperately to help the police find the brutal murderer, she is hired by Scotland Yard to become a decoy for the killer, who lures his victims through newspaper advertisements. Lots of plot twists keep movie exciting to the end.
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6/10
Split Personality
Lechuguilla16 May 2005
A killer lures lonely young women via the "personals" column in a London newspaper. A friend of one of the victims, an attractive dancer named Sandra Carpenter (Lucille Ball), acts as bait to catch the killer, under direction of Police Inspector Temple (Charles Coburn). One of the suspects is Robert Fleming (George Sanders) who may, or may not, be the killer. Fleming, suave and sophisticated, charms Carpenter into romantic complications.

The whodunit element of "Lured" gets off to a strong start, with good direction, some spooky lighting at the beginning, and an assortment of interesting suspects. But, as the film progresses, the whodunit element gets undercut by the developing romance between Carpenter and Fleming. The upbeat "All For Love" musical score, combined with elegant costumes, reinforce the romantic theme. The whodunit element sputters out about two-thirds through the film.

My impression is that the screenplay for this film was adapted from "Pieges", a 1939 French film (which I have not seen), billed as a romantic thriller. In "Lured", we certainly have a romantic theme; thrills maybe, depending on how you define "thrills". You get the feeling that the film's director (Douglas Sirk) started with the intention of making a whodunit, but later changed his mind and decided to make a romantic melodrama. The film's split personality may also be the result of the casting of two strong lead actors (Ball and Sanders), whom we do not usually associate with murder mysteries.

"Lured" certainly has entertainment value. I love Lucy no matter what role she plays. Coburn and Sanders are nearly always engaging. The film has good B&W cinematography. The dialogue is crisp. And the film provides some great nostalgia, via 1940's clothes, hairstyles, and music. Overall, "Lured" has a great cast and some wonderful atmosphere. But, when I want to watch a murder mystery from the 30's or 40's, I will be more inclined to watch a film whose sole aim is to present a whodunit puzzle, such as, for example, a good old fashion Charlie Chan film with Sidney Toler ... romance be damned.
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6/10
Uneven thriller with top notch cast...
Doylenf9 March 2009
LURED starts out promisingly with Scotland Yard on the trail of a serial killer and enlisting a friend of the latest victim (LUCILLE BALL) to help them solve the crime. CHARLES COBURN is the police inspector who sends Lucille on a dangerous mission to trap a killer. GEORGE SANDERS, in one of his more colorless roles, is the man with romantic designs on Ball the minute he has a phone conversation with her when she applies for a showgirl job opening.

Sanders without witty dialog plays his straight role in a rather bored fashion, but there's some colorful work by ALAN MOBRAY, SIR CEDRIC HARDWICKE, GEORGE ZUCCO, ROBERT COOTE and ALAN NAPIER.

Best of all is BORIS KARLOFF in an offbeat role as a mad dress designer who gets the chance to chew all the scenery in sight and then some.

But somewhere towards the middle, the story loses steam and whatever dramatic tension was built up in the earlier scenes. Still, it manages to hold the interest with several red herrings tossed in the mix to throw off suspicion. However, any true mystery fan ought to be able to guess the murderer from the start.

Best when it's going along at a brisk pace, but it does slow down to a trot toward the end. Lucille Ball does well in a dramatic role (delivered with some typical light touches) and all in all it manages to entertain despite some flaws.

Douglas Sirk, noted more for his Technicolored melodramas in the '50s, does a nice job of direction.
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7/10
Murder by way of the "personal" ads.
michaelRokeefe11 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Much surprising and over-looked crime drama. Lucille Ball in Film-Noir. Miss Ball, fresh, leggy and lovely, plays Sandra Carpenter, an American living in London and working as a taxi-dancer. Her friend Lucy(Taris Chandler)goes missing after answering a job offer in the "personal" column; just like several others who've vanished without a trace. After being questioned by Scotland Yard, Sandra is talked into being a decoy undercover cop by Chief Inspector Temple(Charles Coburn). Not knowing that Sandra left her dancing job, she is squired by a mysterious and wealthy Mr. Fleming(George Sanders). Miss Carpenter hopes to lure the killer by answering personals herself.

Very nice Black & White photography with a brisk moving story and strong supporting cast that includes: Boris Karloff, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, George Zucco and Alan Napier. Ball is very impressive and strong in this roll; almost a shame she had to turn to comedy.
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Lured/Pièges
dbdumonteil27 October 2006
As an user has pointed out,"lured" is the remake of Robert Siodmak's movie "Pièges" (1939) starring Marie Dea (Lucille Ball's part),Maurice Chevalier (Sanders' part) ,Erich Von Stroheim (Karloff's) and Pierre Renoir (Cedric Hardwicke's) Both versions are good.If ,like me,you've seen Siodmak's version first ,you'll probably find Sirk's work less interesting and vice versa . The differences between the treatments are minimal.

-George Sanders is a better choice than Maurice Chevalier ,cause we do believe he might be a serial killer,which is difficult with the French chanteur.

-On the other hand the scene featuring Boris Karloff is weaker than its French equivalent where Stroheim was more disturbing.

-In both movies,the weakest link is the part of the story where the heroine is a servant in a shady house.
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Lured is not very lurid
bobbobwhite9 December 2004
For a serial killer film, this one must rank as the most reserved and dignified ever made. No blood nor gore, just urbane and sophisticated dialogue throughout, and especially from the killer, plus a bit of very enjoyable George Sanders-Lucille Ball romantic wit. Perhaps all victims die without bleeding/suffering/discomfort in meddy old England? "In England, we musn't dirty our hands while killing, musn't we?" But, that was typical of the bloodless killings of crime movies of that time.

George Sanders as a good guy was a total waste here. He is at his best as a witty, sarcastic and selfish cad, which he was somewhat at the start but then soon lost his lust and fell hard for Ms Ball, at which time he lost my interest as he became just another central casting rich guy in love. Unfortunate decision by the studio, as he would have been much better using more of his well known crackling wit.

As a result, Charles Coburn and Cedric Hardwicke were the best things in this film, after the radiant and gorgeous Lucille Ball. Coburn had most of the best dialogue, and came off as a brilliant mix of the philosophical and practical. The methodical way he discovered the killer was a bit long in coming, but interestingly effective overall.

The film needed editing and story tightening to eliminate a lot of the too-long and languid story development dragginess that held it back from being one of the better mystery flicks I've seen over the years. I still give it a 7 out of 10, mainly for quality of dialogue and acting.
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8/10
Lucy Trying to Find a Killer
theowinthrop9 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
For some reason LURED has not shown up on television very often. I don't know why, as it is well acted and directed. Possibly because of a flaw in the 1947 telling of the story that would be handled differently today. The villain is killing women because he cannot attract them like other men, and sees that they are at their most beautiful when they are dead (which oddly enough would have been the viewpoint of Reginald Christie, the Rillington Place strangler who was alive in 1947 and killing). But today the character would probably be latently homosexual. There are signs of it in his intellectual interests and even his use of poetry, as opposed to the other males in the film (especially the hero). I think that might have made the film a trifle more believable.

LURED is based on a 1939 French movie that starred Maurice Chevalier, and possibly gave that great entertainer his meatiest dramatic role. The cast here is damned good one, with Lucille Ball as an American dancer in London who is searching for a missing friend. She is recruited by Charles Coburn (as a Chief Inspector from Scotland Yard) to assist him, Alan Napier, and Robert Coote in trying to find her friend and solve the disappearance (in two years) of eight other woman. She is supposed to be bait for the criminal - to lure him into a trap. Lucy is given the personal columns and is to answer all that pertain to some man seeking a woman as a companion.

Ball is good - first as a tired American down on her luck (she is now a taxi dancer). She is hard boiled, but she seeks to improve herself. She does get a chance by answering an invitation to work for a nightclub owned by George Sanders and Cedric Hardwicke. But then her friend vanishes, and she finds her sense of public duty overcoming ambition.

Except for one thing. Fate keeps throwing her and Sanders together, and the latter (from his phone call with Lucy earlier) has been very interested in her. Slowly they are falling in love.

But she is determined to help Coburn. And the screenplay allows Douglas Sirk to go to town here. Sirk was brilliant at using the riches of materialism to manipulate his audiences (best shown in the 1950s in his color films). But in black and white he is just as effective, illustrating the situations Lucy finds herself in by his use of sets and costumes.

First the meets Boris Karloff, a well dressed man who seems to be offering her a modeling job. He is. But(in a switch for Karloff) he is an insane couturier (ruined years earlier by unscrupulous competitors), and he is putting on his greatest show (with Lucy wearing a twenty year old (1920 style) gown for a non-existent audience of blue-bloods (the main seat supposedly for a Princess has a British bull dog growling in it!).

Next she answers an ad for a maid in a banker's house. Interestingly this involves Lucy with a gang run by Joseph Calleia and Alan Mowbray (as a crooked butler - Topper's butler would not have approved). The gang is also causing young women to vanish, but for commercial reasons. Again the script is forced to change what is probably going on: the women, in the finished film are being shipped to become thieves working for Calliea in South America. In reality they would probably be turned into prostitutes in a white slavery ring down there. Again Sirk manages to translate a vision of the danger Lucy is in by the claustrophobic lower kitchen of the house where she is alone with a suspicious Calleia and a dumbfounded Mowbray.

Finally Lucy agrees to marry George, and everything seems headed smoothly ahead, except for the mysterious criminal sending another poem to the Yard that seems to aim at Lucy. Then she finds disturbing items in Sanders' desk. And the story takes us back to the serious elements we saw earlier when Lucy was trying to find her missing pal.

The film is quite good, and bears good comparison to later Sirk masterpieces like MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION and IMITATION OF LIFE. I only wish to add what several have pointed out: the performance of George Zucco as a Scotland Yard Lieutenant who works with Lucy, and is brave, but is also a perfect comic partner for her. Watch his interest in crosswords, and how she unconsciously helps him on them.
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8/10
A wonderfully fun curio loaded with favorite actors
estabansmythe23 November 2015
In a way, "Lured" is actually George Zucco's film. Why? Because of his counter-casting, even though there has never been any doubt that this great mostly-unknown English actor (except to horror & comedy-mystery fans) would have pulled it off with his usual style & class, and here, humor (remember, he was a hoot in "After the Thin Man" & "Topper Returns").

It's a fun whodunit with a really solid cast from top to bottom, including favorites Alan Mobray, Gerald Hamer, Joseph Calleia, Charles Coburn,and Alan Napier (Alfred the butler on "Batman").

"Lured" is about a lady killer on the loose in London, and includes a cast with such leading stars as Lucille Ball, George Sanders, Sir Cedric Hardwicke and George Sanders - but it's Zucco who always demands that the viewer watch.

Horror legend Boris Karloff shows up in as a crazed dress designer. His moment is priceless.

Hopefully, one or two of the terrific new retro networks will add this to their rotations.
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6/10
Flowers of Evil.
rmax30482325 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
It's kind of fun, an example of an early serial killer, just as tricky as all the more modern ones. This madman advertises for pretty girls then murders them because he's too shy to reveal his love. (It's murky, but then the whole plot is a little turbid.) It's more amusing than suspenseful. Lucille Ball, doing a fine job, is swept up in the police effort to nail the murderer. She's used as bait.

Of course, the agony columns carry lots of advertisements for pretty girls available for promising jobs, and Ball has to answer the most suspicious-looking adverts. (This is in London.) One of them is Boris Karloff, more menacing than ever, who has her wear a formal gown of his own design and displays her before an audience of dogs and mannequins in his shabby loft. He goes berserk and begins to chase her around with a sabre. He is, however, more of a red herring than a monster.

The real killer is strongly hinted at, about two thirds of the way through the movie, as the movie grows less comic and somewhat darker.

The cast is exceptionally good. George Sanders is always a splendid cad, and he has a sort of above-it-all character here, minus the sneer but with that built-in superiority. He's also believable as a male romantic lead. Lucille Ball is not nearly as dumb as Lucy and gets to stretch her acting chops a little. She has no esplaineen to do regarding her performance.

But then everyone is quite all right. Interesting to see Sir Cedric Hardwicke as a villain. He's certainly convincing. What a marvelous voice. Joseph Calleia is so overcooked as another villain that his eyes pop out like the thermometer button that comes with the Thanksgiving turkey. George Zucco, for a change, is a lower-class cop, on the side of the angels.

It's a good example of the kind of films that used to be put out in the 30s and 40s. It's overscored. The music tells us exactly what sensations we should feel, just in case we're confused. Loose ends lie all over the place. It's unpretentious but it includes poems from Baudelaire and Schubert's Eighth Symphony without any apology or judgment.

You'll probably like it.
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6/10
Well-acted detective story...some funny, cynical asides, though the script doesn't hold together
moonspinner557 August 2011
Early directorial effort from Douglas Sirk offers an offbeat role for Lucille Ball, ably playing an American dancer in London who is enlisted by Scotland Yard to catch a poem-writing serial killer who preys on showgirls. Leo Rosten's screenplay (culled from perhaps various treatments by Jacques Companéez, Simon Gantillon, and Ernest Neuville) is loosely-hinged at best, thin at worst. A sequence with Boris Karloff as a delusional designer goes on far too long, as does a tiresome thread with Ball working as a maid for a possible pervert. Entertaining on a minor level, especially for Lucy-addicts (her dryly comic exasperation is very funny, as is her rapport with the inspectors on the case). George Sanders is ideally cast as a wealthy nightclub owner who takes a shine to our heroine--and who wouldn't? Ball may be photographed in black-and-white, but she exudes both sophisticated glamor and attractive street-smarts. She's a peach. **1/2 from ****
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Meanders
dougdoepke21 May 2011
Oddball film with a thriller premise—a poetic serial killer is on the loose. However, the movie soon turns into more of a psychological drama than anything else. Sandra (Ball) goes undercover in a house full of suspects to smoke out the culprit. Now, mystery thrillers usually thrive on atmosphere and suspense as we sort through suspects while tension mounts.

However, the narrative here meanders, especially after we're tipped off to the culprit, while the photography remains fairly gray and uninteresting. Perhaps the movie's direction isn't surprising. Director Sirk made his name helming high-class soap opera, which the lengthy romantic side here resembles.

Nonetheless, Ball is ravishing and gets to play dress-up. Seeing her here reveals a whole different side from the slapstick comedienne. Sanders is smooth and charming as expected. But the movie can't seem to figure out just what his role is. Speaking of roles, the brief Karloff freak-out is a head-scratcher. He's a name star, yet gets only a 15-minute cameo and then disappears. I'm guessing the segment was inserted to spice up the marquee.

The concert scene, however, remains an amusing surprise with the bearded man and the clever dialog. But the screenplay itself is just too flabby and the direction too slack to effectively realize the promising premise.
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A nice surprise!
barbarella706 January 2003
Great, atmospheric tale of a struggling chorus girl (Lucille Ball)who is used as bait by London police to catch a serial killer who preys on women through newspaper personal advertisements.

Douglas Sirk is the Director of the Moment due to the release of the superb Far from Heaven -a remake of Sirk's All That Heaven Allows- and his films are now being rented and talked about as if they never existed. This film is a beautiful showcase for the almost larger-than-life characters, incredibly detailed sets, and use of lighting that would become trademarks for his later films.

Lucille Ball makes a great 'dame' and her dramatic abilities were sensational. Boris Karloff takes his one scene and plays it to the creepy hilt while George Sanders was a rather cool and sexy guy before he sealed his film fate as Addison DeWitt in All About Eve.

Lured maybe hard to find in most video stores but give it a chance if you come across it.
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7/10
Poet Killer Believed To Be At Bay!
Spikeopath17 October 2013
Lured (AKA: Personal Column) is directed by Douglas Sirk and collectively written by Leo Rosten, Jacques Companéez, Simon Gantillon and Ernst Neubach. It stars Lucille Ball, George Sanders, Charles Coburn, Cedric Hardwicke, Joseph Calleia and Boris Karloff. Music is by Michel Michelet and cinematography by William H. Daniels.

A serial killer in London is murdering young women whom he meets through the personal columns section of the newspaper. Taunting the police with cryptic poems, the killer is proving most illusive, so much so that when a friend of dancer Sandra Carpenter (Ball) disappears, the police enlist her to act as bait to lure the killer in.

There's a lot to like about Lured, on proviso you have your expectation level correctly set as to what sort of film it is. It's a very uneven movie in tone, which when one sees that there were four writing contributors involved in bringing it to the screen, perhaps comes as no surprise. A remake of Robert Siodmak's 1939 film Pièges (set in Paris), it is never sure if it wants to be a comedy mystery or a dark brooding thriller. A shame because in spite of it being a set bound production, Sirk and Daniels create a sinister visual mood when the story lurks around the constructed London sets.

The cast are ever watchable, though you can see Ball struggling to rein in her natural comedic bent during the more dramatic sequences, but she leads off from the front and looks positively lovely and radiant. Karloff fans get a fun extended cameo, with the great Uncle Boris playing up to a caricature of unstable characters he could do in his sleep, Sanders is suitably stand-offish, Coburn ebullient, while Hardwicke and Calleia add a touch of class to the support ranks.

Michelet's musical score is in keeping with the mixed tonal flow of the picture, in fact sometimes sounding like it should be in a screwball movie from decades previously, but with competent professionalism coming elsewhere from Sirk, Daniels and the lead cast members, it's an enjoyable movie. Even if it's all a bit too jolly and nonchalant for its own good at times. 6.5/10
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8/10
It works well at what it attempts
feelfab27 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It gets fully eight stars because it succeeded well in what it set out to do: provide an interesting suspense story with enough light moments to keep it from getting too one toned. You get a little ahead of the story at times, but it doesn't matter because it's interesting watching the way the film deals with the various plot points. There's one point when you think the police are stopping and you want to say 'Hey wait a minute, what about...' and then they address the issue. A fun movie-watching moment. The cast were all very good; Lucille Ball is great in these crime stories; it makes me wish she hadn't gone fully into comedy. If you like her in this, I recommend 'The Dark Corner'--a good noir in which she plays a similar role and does so very well, available on DVD as one entry in the fine Fox Film Noir series.
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8/10
One of the Most Superbly Creepy Movies Ever Made
Handlinghandel27 April 2006
I like Douglas Sirk in his early Hollywood days. I'm not a fan of his later, more famous work, such as "Imitation of Life," which I consider in every way inferior to the version from the 1930s. (Of course I like "Written on the Wind." Who wouldn't!) He is at his very best in this intentionally creepy, suspenseful film noir. Lucille Ball volunteers to be a decoy in solving a string of murders of young women. The murderer writes a poem about each victim, in the style of Baudelaire. (Though I'd call it a true noir, it is generally high toned, with excellent music. This includes a beuatifully played Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony that Ball attends live, as part of her work.) What a collection of suspects we have here: Boris Karloff, Alan Mowbray, George Sanders, Cedric Hardwicke, George Zucco ...! This is not to mention Police Chief Charles Coburn, whom the viewer never holds above suspicion.

Far be it from me so much as to hint at who the killer is. However, I must eliminate one of the suspects, who is eliminated in an early scene: Boris Karloff posts an advertisement to which Ball responds. He is a precursor to Norma Desmond: an aging recluse trying to relive his days of glory. He was, of all things, a dress designer. Ball has to model a beautiful gown he created years earlier. Karloff attacks this role with relish and he is superbly bizarre. The scene in which he lashes out at his faithful housekeeper is truly chilling.

It's a trifle long, but I cannot imagine anyone's finding this cornucopia of luscious women -- Ball is at her best -- and unsavory suspects less than fascinating.
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6/10
A cast full of red herrings
bkoganbing3 December 2015
Producer Hunt Stromberg of Lured wanted to make very sure his audience couldn't possibly suspect whoever the elusive strangler of young women might be in post World War II London. So he gathered a cast together any one of the men could have been that strangler who gets his victims through personal ad columns in London's papers.

Lucille Ball is an American entertainer there who is raising quite a row with Scotland Yard over the disappearance of a friend. So Chief Inspector Charles Coburn decides to use her as undercover bait. A risky business, but Lucy has moxie.

So Ms. Ball has a couple of adventures and even uncovers a white slavery ring, but no strangler. One of the cast is arrested, but he's not the right guy. At the very end we learn who it is without a few harrowing moments for our leading lady.

When you've got a cast with people like George Sanders, Cedric Hardwicke, Joseph Calleia, Alan Mowbray, George Zucco, Alan Napier and Boris Karloff that could be any one of them. Stromberg and director Douglas Sirk counted on the movie going public's instinctive reactions to these people.

It works nicely too. Even Coburn has seen some villainy on the screen. Lured is a nice mystery to it. I will give you a hint, it's the most cultured character in the cast.
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5/10
Too sloppily written to be anything more than a time-passer.
MartinHafer20 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
What's the matter with this film's casting--was Hollywood running out of genuine English actors? I can't understand with all the English actors in the film and the film being set in London, you'd sure think that all the actors would be Brits--or at least sound British. So why did they cast Charles Coburn (a great actor, sure) and Lucille Ball in this film? As a result, when the film started I felt puzzled to say the least but at least noticed that there were a lot of actors in the film other than these two leads who actually were Brits.

The film concerns a serial killer who is killing pretty young ladies. Oddly, he has a calling card of sorts, as he leaves strange and rather cryptic poems for the police. When Lucille Ball is able to give the police some important information concerning her friend who just disappeared, the police instantly make her a police woman and send her out on assignments to find the killer. It seems that whoever is doing the killings is using personal ads in the newspaper to recruit victims, so they have Lucy go in response to many, many such ads.

Here's the odd part--and I don't blame the film makers for this but the marketing jerks at Kino Video today. You see, on the cover of the DVD, there is a nice photo of Lucy and Boris Karloff and it's very prominent. However, Karloff is only in the movie about five minutes and he's eliminated as a suspect early on in the film--yet the DVD maker would have the viewer expect this to be a film in which Karloff starred. Heck, a dozen people were in the movie would could have easily been put on the cover with Lucy instead! Despite all this, Karloff is NOT the psycho (or at least he's a DIFFERENT psycho). So, Lucy goes on several more meetings until she is able to crack a smuggling ring--but not the serial killer. Along the way, she meets and almost instantly falls in love with George Sanders and they decide to marry(!). But, when it appears that Sanders may actually be the killer, Lucy may be in for far more than she thought.

The film has an interesting plot and could have been a very good film...but it was not. There were several problems with the film. First, the casting was just all wrong. Second, what police force in the world would take an untrained civilian and make her an instant police woman? Additionally, why would they hand her a loaded gun--especially when the British police rarely carry revolvers! Third, the relationship with Sanders and Lucy just went way, way too fast. No offense, but he's rather erudite and rich--so why would he go all ga-ga over Lucy? Back in the 1930s, she was rather pretty but still so unlike Sanders. Now, in 1947, the match just made little sense--perhaps he was on the rebound from Zsa-Zsa. Sadly, so much about the writing was good--such as the nice plot twists in the latter half of the film. But it's just too sloppy and improbable throughout to be more than a time-passer.

Sad, as there was a cast of wonderful actors that were unfortunately wasted. Other than the folks I already mentioned, the film starred Cedric Hardwicke, George Zucco, Joseph Calleia, Joseph Calleia and Alan Napier--all very, very talented men.
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Good Thriller
Michael_Elliott28 February 2008
Lured (1947)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

By the numbers thriller about a dancehall girl (Lucille Ball) who helps Scotland Yard track down a serial killer. George Sanders co-stars as the man Ball falls in love with, although he's a prime suspect. The movie is decent enough and the two leads offer good performances but overall it has the feel of been there done that. Boris Karloff has a small part as well but it's George Zucco who steals the show in the best role I've seen him in. The highlight of the film is a scene inside a park where Ball is attacked.
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