She Played with Fire

As we all know from Double Indemnity, insurance and romance can be a dangerous combination; this little-seen mystery by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat (Green for Danger) adds to the formula a touch of British Gothic. Sent to investigate a Christmas Eve fire at one of those country manors that always seem to harbor dark secrets, insurance adjuster Jack Hawkins encounters an enigmatic family, including an imposing matriarch and a young wife (Arlene Dahl) with connections to Hawkins's own past. “We're all escaping from something, aren't we,” says Mother; her son sagely advises, “Be careful in this dark corner.” As Hawkins tracks a trail of fraud, forgery, and worse, schemes and suspicions proliferate-as do classic Launder-Gilliat supporting characters-and nightmares overlap with reality and art.

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