|Directed by||Arthur Crabtree|
|Produced by||Betty Box|
|Written by||Muriel Box|
|Based on||play by St. John Legh Clowes|
|Music by||Benjamin Frankel|
|Edited by||Gordon Hales|
|Distributed by||General Film Distributors (UK)|
|Box office||£139,000 (by July 1953)|
Lee and Vivien Warren are trapped in a nightmare marriage. Vivien is despising, devious and habitually unfaithful while Lee is pathologically jealous. On his return from a lengthy business trip to New York, suspicious after his wife failed to write to him or call, Lee finds several cards addressed to Vivien signed "Love Always" and determines to kill her latest lover, Richard Fenton. He confronts Fenton, who admits to his affair with Vivien, and persuades him to end the relationship by writing her a farewell letter. He then kills Fenton, and stages the scene to look like a suicide, believing he has committed the perfect crime as the letter which Fenton had just written at his dictation has all the appearance of a suicide note.
His scheme goes awry when he discovers immediately after the fact that Vivien and Fenton had in fact broken up some time before, and Fenton had been humouring him by writing the note. He is guilt-stricken at having killed Fenton needlessly, and realises that any suggestion of suicide on Fenton's part in despair over Vivien will now seem absurd to the police. When he discovers that Vivien now has a new beau, Jimmy Martin, he takes the opportunity to frame Martin for the crime, reasoning that this will serve the dual purpose of shifting suspicion away from himself while at the same time getting Vivien's current lover out of the way. While he arranges matters so that all the evidence points to Martin, the policeman in charge of the case, Inspector Pembury, has his doubts about the case but is unable to catch Lee out.
Vivien begs her husband to intercede on Martin's behalf, promising to remain faithful in the future if he can devise a way to save Martin from the gallows without incriminating himself. Lee changes his testimony to the police to say that Fenton had died of suicide but that he had later manipulated the crime scene to look like he was murdered by Martin. Vivien convinces Lee to write a letter unbeknownst to him is intended to act as a suicide note. She gives him a drink containing an overdose of his regular medications. While Lee is dying, Vivien confesses to lying to him and that she only loved Martin. She attempts to reunite with Martin who wants nothing to do with her. Vivien returns dejectedly back to her apartment and, despite initially feigning distress at her husband's death, is arrested by Pembury for Lee's murder. Her lover Jimmy Martin's ring is given back to her stating 'til death do us part'. The film ends with her laughing cruelly, symbolising her downfall into madness.
- Eric Portman as Lee Warren
- Greta Gynt as Vivien Warren
- Dennis Price as Richard Fenton
- Maxwell Reed as Jimmy Martin
- Jack Warner as Insp. Pembury
- Hazel Court as Avis Fenton
- Jane Hylton as Rita
- Andrew Crawford as Sgt. Fox
The film was based on a play by St. John Legh Clowes. It debuted in a small theatre in London that had specialised in Grand Guignol plays and was so popular it was transferred to the West End in 1946, where it was a hit. Director Sam Woods wanted to buy the film rights. Film rights were purchased by Sydney Box.
It was one of the first films made at Gainsborough Pictures after Sydney Box took over as head of production. The adaptation was very faithful to the script.
The film was shot as Islington Studios.
The film was well-received for its tautness and ingenuity, with one reviewer noting: "Dear Murderer is a shrewd, semi-psychological thriller with Eric Portman, a well-known menace...being sinister to the height of his bent. The plot is good and chilling." It also received positive notices on its release in the U.S.: "Another masterful picture from overseas, a carefully plotted dramatic thriller which revolves very neatly about the commission of the perfect crime."
The movie was given a Royal Command Performance in Oslo, Norway. (Star Greta Gynt was Norwegian.)
Attempted murder trial
The movie featured in a trial. Arthur Colyer was arrested for attempted murder of his wife. His wife was accused of passing off the plot for Dear Murderer as evidence, although she denied it.
Other versions of the play
The play was adapted for British TV in 1949 and 1957, and for German TV in 1972.
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- Andrew Spicer, Sydney Box Manchester Uni Press 2006 p 210
- LEWIS B. FUNKE. (17 February 1946). "NEWS AND GOSSIP GATHERED ALONG THE RIALTO". New York Times. p. 47.
- Trewin, J C. (4 August 1946). "THEATRE AND LIFE". The Observer. p. 2.
- Schallert, Edwin (6 September 1946). "Wyatt 'Boomerang' Deal Hovers at Signing Stage". Los Angeles Times. p. A7.
- film/DVD review"MESSRS. BOX & BOX WRITE A FILM DIARY". The Tatler and Bystander. 181 (2361). London. 25 September 1946. pp. 400–401.
- LOUIS CALTA (20 March 1947). "SIMONOV COMEDY DUE AT BILTMORE: ' Whole World Over' to Bow on Thursday--'Bathsheba' Will Arrive Preceding Night". New York Times. p. 39.
- "DEAR MURDERER". Film History. 15 (3). Sydney. 2003. p. 295.
- "Record Year Predicted For British Films". The Sydney Morning Herald (34, 010). 24 December 1946. p. 10 (The Sydney Morning Herald Magazine.). Retrieved 27 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Producers run in Box family". The Australian Women's Weekly. 14 (42). 29 March 1947. p. 32. Retrieved 27 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "London Newsreel". The Daily News. LXV (22, 460) (LATE SPORTS ed.). Western Australia. 5 April 1947. p. 12. Retrieved 27 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "BRITAIN'S STARS OF THE FUTURE". The Mercury. CLXV (23, 820). Tasmania, Australia. 12 April 1947. p. 3 (The Mercury Magazine). Retrieved 27 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Hard work and no glamor for starlets". The Australian Women's Weekly. 15 (11). 23 August 1947. p. 40. Retrieved 27 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Films in Glasgow" The Glasgow Herald, 07-07-1947. Retrieved 11-08-2010
- "Dizzy Screen Fare Now at Harlem" Baltimore Afro-American, 18-06-1949. Retrieved 11-08-2010
- "FILM FLASHES". Truth (2992). Sydney. 25 May 1947. p. 58. Retrieved 27 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "CLAIMS EVIDENCE FOLLOWED THEME OF "DEAR MURDERER"". Truth (2548). Brisbane. 23 January 1949. p. 32. Retrieved 27 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- Schallert, Edwin (21 September 1955). "Big Moments of Suspense Enliven 'Dear Murderer'". Los Angeles Times. p. 20.
- Dear Murderer at IMDb
- Dear Murderer at AllMovie
- Dear Murderer at BritMovie (archived)
- Dear Murderer at Rotten Tomatoes
- Review of film at Variety
- Review of film at The New York Times
- Dear Murderer 1949 BBC TV version at IMDb
- Dear Murderer 1957 TV version at IMDb
- Dear Murderer1972 German TV version at IMDb