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1945, Universal, 94 min, USA, Dir: Charles David

Nikki Collins (Deanna Durbin) witnesses a murder while waiting for a train, but can’t get the police to believe her when no body is discovered. While they dismiss her as daft, she enlists the help of a mystery writer to sleuth out the culprits on her own. Based on a story by veteran mystery scribe Leslie Charteris (The Saint), this is a wildly entertaining mix of comedy, musical and suspense, rendered in evocative noir style by cameraman Woody Bredell (PHANTOM LADY, CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY, THE KILLERS), and featuring a superb cast of sinister and suspicious supporting players (including noir fave Dan Duryea) who swirl ominously around “America’s Sweetheart.”

1944, Universal, 93 min, USA, Dir: Robert Siodmak

A troubled singer (Deanna Durbin) spends a stormy night in New Orleans spinning a tale of woe for a broken-hearted soldier: She married a mama’s boy who's locked up in prison, but she still carries a torch for him. Siodmak cleverly unfolds W. Somerset Maugham's backtracking story, while Gene Kelly (!) uses his avuncular charm to mask a murderous streak. A wickedly delightful alternative to proper Yuletide fare.

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