Lured - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Lured Reviews

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September 1, 2016
Well-filmed, well-plotted mystery. Lucille Ball is a beautiful, straight-talking American dancer, contrasted with George Sanders' womanizing, smooth English nightclub entrepreneur. Black and white films have to be better than color films to hold the modern viewer's attention, and this detective story -- where the beautiful woman is the detective -- does. Fast and fun.
December 11, 2015
Had to see it for the cast, could have been better. I think this was a pioneering effort.
June 28, 2013
A lustrous essay on the alluring trapdoors of the romantic image
March 10, 2013
George Sanders is a cad and a bounder - there can surely be no argument about that - but is he a murderer? The suspense of this film hinges on this very question. 'Lured' (aka 'Personal Column') is an enjoyable romp of a film which doesn't take itself too seriously. The Hollywood depiction of 1940s London and its acefaces is as splendidly phoney and rubbish as one could wish for. The acting couldn't be hammier if it was honey-roasted and coated in breadcrumbs. The brilliant Charles Coburn as Inspector Suchandsuch of the Yard gets to utter such priceless lines as "He has to destroy beauty instead of making love to it". David Niven's lodger Robert Coote does some good, low-key work as a detective. Most surprising is Lucille Ball (who I usually can't stand) who plays it pretty straight and acquits herself well.
September 2, 2012
It works well at what it attempts--A nice surprise!!
½ August 16, 2012
Serial killer obsessed with Baudelaire? Check. Lucille Ball NOT doing "I Love Lucy"? Check. A suave British gentleman who works in a seedy profession? Check. Clearly this flick has everything you need for a perfect noir film, including the incredibly creepy Bela Lugosi. See it!
June 28, 2012
One might consider a movie featuring Lucille Ball, Boris Karloff, and Douglas Sirk as a recipe for success, but unfortunately it falls flat. Boris Karloff is underused. Lucille Ball is unconvincing as the object of desire for all the men in London. And this movie is not in the sharp, ironic, melodramatic style that Douglas Sirk is most famous for.
November 22, 2011
A terrifically engaging thriller. Lucille Ball stars as a quick-witted American Taxi-Dancer working in London, who is hired on by Scotland Yard to help track down a killer who targets young, single women.
Director Douglas Sirk (who would go on to make such lush melodramas as Written on the Wind, All That Heaven Allows, and Imitation of Life) demonstrates his masterful skills at both atmosphere and blunt yet effective plot interjections within scenes (such as a woman being picked up by a mysterious stranger just as a newsboy crosses the frame wearing a sandwich board announcing there is a killer on the loose).
½ October 10, 2011
A very enjoyable film with great acting from Boris Karloff and Lucille Ball. Sirk's direction is impeccable as usual.
August 18, 2011
If you see "Lured" it will be one of the few chances to see Lucille Ball in a [very] dramatic role. Sandra (Ball) is a lonely American showgirl living in London just for fun. Her job is just fine, but when one of her friends goes missing, Scotland Yard suspects it was the work of a serial killer who has been placing ads in the paper for romance. The strange thing is, is that they have all been showgirls. They hire Sandra to catch the killer, but on the way she [of course] falls for a suave man (Sanders) who just might be the guy wanted. But will she be able to keep going with her work? "Lured" is a fun whodunit that I think anybody could be entertained by. This was one of Ball's few dramatic roles (and also her last) and it is really one of her best. Though this film was not a success in its day, most Lucy fans consider it to be one of her best films. "Lured" is not a typical film noir-- a woman going undercover for the cops is unheard of, and the topic of a serial killer on the loose was not very popular at the time. I can't even see why this was such a failure. Director Douglas Sirk always made soapers, and this is one of the times he takes a break from it. He keeps you at the edge of your seat until the last ten minutes, and for a huge portion of the movie you suspect somebody else as the killer. And along the way, I can't not say that you suspect a number of people, especially Boris Karloff as a psychotic dress designer. "Lured" is a very good movie that is really worth seeing.
½ August 12, 2011
My Favorite Lucille Ball straight role.
May 26, 2011
Odd little film starts out well then slowly falls apart toward the end.
February 22, 2011
A Low-Level Thriller With a Heck of a Cast

I dispute those who classify this as noir. It really has very few of the markers thereof. Really, it's an old-fashioned mystery with a few modernized twists. There's really only one woman in it, and far from being untrustworthy, she's the main character, the perspective character. It isn't even gender-reversal noir; yes, there's something uncertain about the man in the case, but he doesn't get Our Heroine into trouble. She manages that all on her own before actually meeting the guy. The police are dependable, though they are baffled by the string of murders in the background of the movie. And they are very much in the background for a lot of it. There's fog, but it's London, after all, and we'd be surprised if there weren't. Most of it is set at night, but that alone doesn't prove noir. I think it's just a reflex reaction to label anything with a touch of thrill made in the late '40s as noir, and I think that's mostly done by people who don't understand the genre.

Sandra Carpenter (Lucille Ball) is a taxi dancer. She's an American in London, it doesn't much matter why, and she hates her job. She gets offered a better one, an offer her best friend, Lucy Barnard (Tanis Chandler), declines to go along with her on because she's about to hook up with a man who will presumably Take Her Away From All This. Except Lucy's never heard from again. She is believed to be the eighth victim of the Poet Killer, a man who kills beautiful young women he meets through the personal ads and who sends poetry to the police to brag of his crimes. Sandra goes to the police with the information she has, and they recruit her to answer the personal ads, trying to find the killer. Along the way, she meets wealthy nightclub mogul Robert Fleming (George Sanders) and creepy ex-fashion designer Charles van Druten (Boris Karloff). She's plucky, though, and we know she'll get what she wants and evade the killer while she's at it.

Boris Karloff seems to be in the movie because, hey, Boris Karloff. He's a suspect in the killings, using the personals to find young women to model the fashions he designed decades ago. (Looking at the dress in question, it must have been a lot of decades.) He has her pose as the princess for whom she designed the dress, and he presents her as such for an imagined--or hallucinated--audience of the elite, addressing his dog as "Your Majesty." When the record playing his presentation music skips, he freaks out, locking his housekeeper (I'm not sure who plays her) in a closet and seems ready to kill Lucille Ball. It's all very exciting, but it isn't relevant to the story. We're just supposed to believe Boris Karloff has killed a whole string of young women. On the other hand, we only believe it because it's Boris Karloff. There's a whole list of reasons he can't be the killer, not least that the housekeeper is still working for him and hasn't run to the police. But look! Boris Karloff!

It must at this point be said that I don't love Lucy. I find the show sexist, racist, and irritating. The show repeatedly goes for cheap laughs. It manages to take an intelligent, independent woman and make her the butt of the joke and an example of what happens when women try to be intelligent and independent--it all goes wrong. Ricky is a crude ethnic stereotype who's doing the right thing by putting his wife in her place, which is in the home. And Lucille Ball was pretty awful to Vivian Vance. Though not as bad as William Frawley was, of course. However, I am increasingly fond of her older movies. I still think she'd have been a dreadful Scarlett O'Hara--and possibly an even worse Belle Watling, the role she was offered instead--but I think she could have been a better actress had she never become an icon. Her earlier roles were wittier, and often more challenging, than the role which made her really famous.

It's not a bad little movie, but I think what fame it has--and this was a Kino release, so that clearly isn't much--comes from what its star did after and what one of its minor characters had done before. And yet again, it makes me feel sorry for Boris Karloff. He was apparently a very nice, very popular guy, and he was trapped in the kind of role he played here, which again felt like a role created for the express purpose of cashing in on his fame. Lucille Ball wasn't quite a nobody when the movie came out, but she was awfully close. She was really just a pretty face--and she was pretty when she was young. She was, in this movie, pretty and feisty and clever. Why is she recruited as a detective? Does Scotland Yard not have young, pretty women working there? (Actually, that's not totally impossible, but it's improbable.) But the plot chugs along merrily under that improbability, and we let it. High art? No. It's probably not the best work of anyone involved, though I'm not a huge Douglas Sirk fan, either. There are worse ways to spend a morning, though.
½ May 7, 2010
Before he became known for his glorious melodramas, Douglas Sirk dabbled in a number of genres, including the lively serial killer flick. George Sanders and Lucille Ball are always fun to watch, and there's a very amusing/creepy minor role for Boris Karloff. If the film has a significant flaw, it's that the tension gets turned on and off like a faucet, and there are several stretches without much menace at all. But it is sufficiently engaging for the most part with some nice noir lighting. Also a homosexual subtext for the killer is never overtly hinted at, but it's an intriguing angle to ponder.
April 30, 2010
Worth seeing for Ball's performance and especially Karloff's, but it's too long by a good 15 minutes, and terribly cliched. George Sanders is dreadfully miscast; there's not only no chemistry between him and Ball, he is completely unconvincing as a romantic lead. Formulaic plot destroys any suspense that we might have felt; we know who didn't do it from the beginning, and we know "who done it" much, much too early.
March 18, 2010
"Lured" has polish and an effective dramatic performance from Lucille Ball, but it's not as suspenseful as it could have been.
January 26, 2010
Hard boiled melodrama, like Melonoir. It's something I'd be interested to see more from Sirk, though I'm not sure how many of these he did. Great to see Lucille Ball outside of her sitcom; apparently she was called for a time the 'Queen of the B's" for roles like this. Not very great, but very interesting movie all the same.
January 17, 2010
American woman serves as bait in order to help Scotland Yard catch a serial killer. Sirk movie starring Lucille Ball. A good example of how literate a lot of old Hollywood movies were, with a Baudelaire loving killer and a woman described as being as beautiful as a Gainsborough painting.
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