A dark street. A man in brimmed hat & trenchcoat enters a shop to buy a gun. Right from scene one of Please Murder Me (1956) we're dead-center in film noir territory.
Attorney Craig Carlson (Raymond Burr) returns to his gloomy office, puts the newly purchased handgun in a desk drawer on top of a sealed file, then starts his dictation tape into a tape recorder. He begins his statement to the district attorney (John Dehner) with, "In exactly fifty-five minutes I will be dead. Murdered."
Via flashback we see Craig's guilt-ridden betrayal of his best friend Joe Leeds (Dick Foran), whose wife Myra (Angela Lansbury) Craig has fallen in love with. Joe seems a swell guy; Craig is already guilt-ridden over the betrayal of a friend.
One dark & stormy night Craig arrives home with an unspoken plan in mind, only to be shot dead by Myra. Craig rushes to her rescue in his capacity as a leading criminal attorney.
There follows a long courtroom sequence which gets a mite dull in spots. Craig is very Perry Mason-like (a year before Burr settled into that role) getting Myra off for what the police believe to be murder.
Found not guilty halfway through the film, we have heard enough evidence to doubt Myra is legitimately innocent. She may be the ultimate femme fatale. If so, Craig, like Joe before him, could well be doomed. And already there's another man in the wings, a good guy & sensitive artist easily won over by Myra's wiles.
Burr's performance has a demented, devastating calmness & intensity that makes Please Murder Meone of the finer film noirs.
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