Lucy Barnard (Tanis Chandler) and Sandra Carpenter (Lucille Ball) are toe-tapping ladies making their living in a dance hall. The two are close friends, and when they’re both offered auditions for a new gig, Sandra couldn’t be more excited. A Fleming and Wilde show! And the opportunity to dance alongside her best friend — without the smarmy male customers of the dance hall! What could be better?
For Lucy, there’s something much better on the horizon, so she thinks. She tells Sandra she wants nothing to do with the stage show and is putting up her tap shoes in favor of an exciting life of travel with a mysterious man she met through the personals.
Sandra is disappointed, but disappointment turns to worry when Lucy soon goes missing. Could she be the latest victim of the “Poet Killer,” a serial killer who sends cryptic messages to Scotland Yard investigators? Lucy is determined to help police track down the mysterious murderer.
1947’s Lured, a black and white mystery, was directed by Douglas Sirk, who would later become the king of the brightly-colored melodrama. Starring alongside Lucille Ball are George Sanders, Charles Coburn, George Zucco, and Boris Karloff.
Though perhaps not quite as memorable as some of Sirk’s later films, Lured is a great little mystery flick. The photography is very nice, and the story has no difficulty holding the viewer’s attention. There are a few little features here that set Lured apart from other films of its type.
First off, there are several quirky characters peppered throughout the film as Sandra goes “undercover” on the hunt. Boris Karloff’s appearance as a very eccentric dressmaker is a highlight, bringing a touch of humor to the film — but also some suspense. With so many suspects, all of them odd, Lured is one mystery that really keeps the viewer guessing as to who the culprit is.
Karloff is great to watch, but he’s not the only cast member that impresses. George Zucco, George Sanders, and Charles Coburn are all splendid in their roles, well-cast and giving solid performances.
And then, of course, there’s Lucille Ball! Her performance here is somewhat understated, a low-key portrayal of an intelligent and pretty brave woman who successfully transitions from dancing shoes to gumshoe. I found myself wishing that Lured had spawned a whole series of Lucille-led mystery flicks following Sandra’s investigations with Scotland Yard. She’s great at the job, and Lucille Ball is very much believable in the role!
Lured kept me lured in from the first moment to the end credits. Add this to my list of favorite Lucille Ball flicks! The score: 5/5!