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It's not *The Great Sinner*...


There?s more to this story than a rich girl chasing a rogue.


The owner of the gaming den fears being put out of business by the wealthy man who bought the property it?s on. This owner has dug up dirt on the wealthy man with plans to blackmail him. When it's revealed that the rich young woman who frequents this den of iniquity and who is deeply in debt - is actually the rich man's daughter - the plot thickens.


Interesting cast: an old-timer, a young beauty, an up-and-coming minor leading man, plus excellent character actors (of both sexes).

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It's not *The Fugitive Kind* ...from an earlier decade...


Iconic star-making auteur directed the film.


It is revealed that the casino owner, a dragon lady type, is the rich girl's long-lost mother and ex-wife of the rich man who?s purchased the casino property. A big blow-up ensues. In the end, the mother is insulted by the daughter and shoots her. The father hears the pop of the gun but thinks it?s a firecracker ? after all, it?s New Year?s in Shanghai.


Message was edited by: theladyeve

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Yes - it's *The Shanghai Gesture* (1941) directed by Josef von Sternberg with Gene Tierney, Walter Huston, Ona Munson and Victor Mature (plus Eric Blore and Maria Ouspenskya). Nominated for two Academy Awards - for art direction and musical score - though it took 30 revisions before the film was acceptable to the Hays Office...


Good work, visualfeast (good guesses by all) - and the thread is yours...

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The student gets $10 by pawning his watch at an unlicensed pawnshop run by one of his professors. Of course this does not solve his problems; it merely gives him a few hours'

operating funds.

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The student blows the $10 when he pays the cafe tab of a diner, a young woman who could not pay for the meal. Broke again, he goes back to the pawnbroker and kills the man. He finds the

man's cash and starts to take it, but a couple of other customers arrive. Panicked, he flees


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Before making it out of the building, the killer slips into a room where a painter has been working. He gets a smear of paint on his coat. This paint smear comes into the story later.

He makes it back to his own building, to his room, and falls asleep exhausted.

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Mid-40s release, shortly post-War. B&W. ...The student is awakened by his landlady in the morning; she tells him the police have come for him. She hands him his mail as he is leaving

with them for the police station. At the station, he is told by the police that a request had been published in the paper for the pawnbroker's customers come in to reclaim their possesions. The student is the only one who had not responded. His claim is that he did not leave his room that whole day -- had slept all day. Opening his mail, he finds it includes a check from a magazine, payment for an article which he had submitted and which they are going to publish. He is released for the time being.


Responding to the other part of Mr.6' question, no big names were in the cast. They seem to have

been mostly contract studio players with reliable support credits from movies and TV.

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Dismissed for the time being by the police, the student/suspect again meets the girl whose meal

he had paid for when they met previously. He now has a $1000 check in his pocket, and is much

less under pressure. They get better acquainted and they decide to go on a picnic. But the police haul him in again. The investigating detective has had a look at his magazine article,

Entitled Man Above The Law, it is a Nietzsche - like essay on a theory that an act of evil can

be justified if it brings about a good end. The detective complements him on it.

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The young man is now rapidly whipsawed between good and bad developments: The detective

has found out about the paint on his coat matching up with the paint in the empty apartment.

...Another student informs him that the faculty are impressed with the magazine article, and his

scholarship has been restored...He goes to the home of the girl (Eileen) and confesses the murder to her, and says he will turn himself in...Back at his place, he finds the detective waiting for him.The detective concludes that the substence of the article shows that the student felt an entitlement to kill under these circumstances...The detective shows him a headline saying that the painter who was in the building has confessed to the murder, then informs him that people sometimes confess to crimes that others have committed... The detective leaves the student in his room, but asks him to come to the police station later, which he promises to do. But what he actually does is to pack his things quickly and call the girl and ask her to meet him at a travel

agency. On the way there, he sees Eileen across the street and, in a hurry to see her, he steps

into traffic and is hit by a car.

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The payoff. My previous entry of 5/6/09, 7:04 PM closes on the note that the student fell asleep

in his room. Everything from that point to being hit by the car was a dream.. He wakes up

from the nightmare, and soon he is visited by the man he thought was dead. The professor/pawnbroker brings him $ 120.00, and the news that his scholarship has been renewed --

here in the real world.. In the hallway, the landlady is showing in a new tenant -- the girl priviously seen in the restaurant and again in his dream. Her real name turns out to be Cathy.

They make a date to meet later.


Background; At some time in the mid-50s, I saw this film on daytime TV. It made an impression

but some details were blurry. I remembered several repetitions of the title "Man Above The Law".

but I had the impression that it was some kind of thesis or term paper. Also, passage of time,

I thought it was a Law student or Philosiphy Class context. Had forgotten it was a Med student.

I most vividly remembered the young man, still sleepy, answering the door and greeting the man

he thought he had killed. I have sought information about the movie in these Boards, both here

in Trivia and in the "Information Please!" Forum. No one recognized it. I hopefully posted a nw

note saying "the plot's a dream" on that "First Film That Comes To Mind" thread, and got the answer I would have given -- *The Wizard Of Oz*. Finally, a poster I had consulted pointed out

something to which I had not paid anough attention -- the similarities of that story to Crime

And Punishment. Several days of digging through the several variations of that classic finally brought me to a reference to the movie I remembered. I will add these clues: 1. It has been issued under two different titles. 2. It has blurb on IMDb, and a very full and generous synopsis in the TCM lists.


I will leave this question open for another day, for anyone who may still want to find the title(s).

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After 104 Views.

Rereading my comments so far, I see that I've made a couple of errors in timeline, which it would be awkward to edit out. The big one being that the student fell asleep at home after buying the

girl the meal. He did not go back and kill the professor/pawnbroker; that was a part of the dream.

The magazine article and the check seem to have existed only in the dream also.


1946 release. *Fear.* Re-issue title: *Black Tower.* And a version cut to 30 minutes for television was entitled *Suspense.* It has an imdb site, with a couple of informational viewer

essays, and, as mentioned previously, TCM has a very detailed synopsis. Wikipedia, bless it's heart, has commentary on it that assumes that it involves a murder-for-hire. And there is no indication that Wikipedia knows about the surprise ending.


Anyway, I've gotten a little trivia-buff satisfaction out of finally tracking this one down. As I've done

once before, I ask anyone and everyone to go to the TCM listing site and enter requests that

they air the film and let us know when. I have little hope of ever getting to see it otherwise.

Amazon has nothing on it, nor has EBay.


The thread is open for anyone who has another poser.

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