Pre-Pub Review

Midnight Lace

Kino, 103 min., not rated, Blu-ray: $29.99

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

Doris Day stepped away from bright musicals and mild sex comedies to play Kit Preston, a middle-aged newlywed tormented by a mysterious stalker in Midnight Lace. Rex Harrison costars as her husband, Anthony, a workaholic CEO in London who first dismisses her fears and then brings Scotland Yard into the case. No one else hears the eerie voice that she claims terrorizes her in repeated phone calls, and as she succumbs to paranoia and hysteria under the strain (in an impressive, emotionally intense performance by Day), her husband begins to question her sanity. He’s a suspect, of course, as is a handsome contractor (John Gavin) who saves her from a construction accident, and the scheming ne’er do well son (Roddy McDowall) of their maid, as well as a scarred stranger who is seen hanging around in the shadows just outside the couple‚Äôs lavish London apartment. Based on the 1958 play Matilda Shouted Fire by Janet Green, this 1960 romantic thriller is in the tradition of Gaslight and Dial M for Murder by way of a modern gothic melodrama. But director David Miller is no Hitchcock, and the tension comes more from the performances than the filmmaking or the plot twists, which are clever but lack dramatic punch. Still, this is an entertaining film with a superb cast (including Hollywood legends Myrna Loy and Herbert Marshall in supporting roles), handsome cinematography, and elegant fashions that earned an Oscar nomination. Extras include audio commentary by film historian Kat Ellinger. A strong optional purchase. (S. Axmaker)