‘Lured’ – Lucille Ball in England on Criterion Channel and Cohen Media Channel

Douglas Sirk, the German-born filmmaker who fled Europe for Hollywood during World War II, became famous for social commentary into sophisticated, glossy melodramas in the 1950s but he spent years working his way up from B movies and studio programmers.

Lured (1947) stars Lucille Ball as an American showgirl in London persuaded by Scotland Yard to act as bait to catch a suspected serial killer who lures his victims through personal ads and George Sanders is a theater producer who becomes a suspect. He’s the cultured ladies’ man and she’s the brash American who simultaneously abandons and encourages him during the investigation. It’s a rare dramatic role for Ball and she’s marvelous while Sanders is in top form as the suave sophisticate who finds a worthy romantic adversary in the worldly American.

This stylish Victorian melodrama/murder mystery is less a thriller than a witty cat-and-mouse game played with both the audience and the target. Though it was made independently on a small budget, at least by studio standards, Sirk makes the most of his budget with elegantly drawn set pieces and benefits from the cinematography of studio veteran William Daniels, an Oscar-winner who uses fog-drenched nocturnal atmosphere to suggest London without leaving the studio.

Boris Karloff gets to show off his knack for comedy in his small role as a suspect and Charles Coburn, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Joseph Calleia, Alan Mowbray, and George Zucco costar.

Black and white

Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
A Scandal in Paris / Lured [Blu-ray]
Lured [DVD]

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The Blu-ray presents the film on a double-feature of Douglas Sirk features and includes commentary by film historian Jeremy Arnold.


Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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