Crime By Night (1944)

Film Review


Release Date: 9 September, 1944

Studio: Warner Bros.

Director: William Clemens

Starring: Jane Wyman, Jerome Cowan, Faye Emerson, Eleanor Parker


Detective Cowan, with the assistance of secretary/girlfriend Wyman, investigates the murder of an industrialist. The suspects include the man's daughter, her fiancé, her ex-husband, the female manager of the fiancĂ©, and the ex-husband, who are musicians.


This enjoyable, B-level film has a decent script and an interesting group of actors. Wyman, top-billed, had been making programmers since 1932; her stardom and Oscar win (Best Actress, Johnny Belinda, 1948) were still a couple of years away. She plays Cowan’s cute and pert girlfriend/assistant, a type of part she played frequently during her early years in film. Although Wyman is billed first, Cowan has the main role and most of the screen time. He had appeared in a number of Broadway plays between 1930 and 1937 before beginning his film career at age 40 in 1936. Not handsome and looking middle-aged, Cowan has one of his few lead roles. He even gets to kiss both Wyman and Emerson. Emerson, billed third, is poised and elegant. Eleanor Parker, in her fifth credited role, was several years away from starring parts and Oscar nominations.