In 1940s Los Angeles, when womanizing composer Keith Vincent is found dead, the inquest concludes it was a suicide but police detective Joe Warne isn't so sure.
The Dolores Mystery. Nocturne is directed by Edwin L. Marin and adapted to screenplay by Jonathan Latimer from a story written by Roland Brown and Frank Fenton. It stars George Raft, Lynn Bari, Virginia Huston, Joseph Pevney, Myrna Dell and Edward Ashley. Music is by Leigh Harline and cinematography by Harry J. Wild. When Hollywood composer Keith Vincent (Ashley) is found dead in his swanky abode, the police feel it is a clear case of suicide. But there is one exception, Joe Warne (Raft), who feels it just doesn't add up. When it becomes apparent that any number of lady friends of the composer could have killed him, Joe drives himself onwards in pursuit of the truth. Comfort food noir. Nocturne is a Los Angeles based detective story that doffs its cap towards Otto Preminger's far superior "Laura". Raft is in suitably understated hard-bitten mode as Joe Warne risks more than just the wrath of his bosses when he becomes obsessed with finding a woman called Dolores. He is convinced she has committed a murder and the gap on the wall where a row of ladies photographs hang only fuels his obsession still further. As director Marin ("Johnny Angel") balances the opposing lifestyles of the principal players, taking us for a trip through the varying haunts of Los Angeles, the dialogue is pungent enough to overcome the failings of the script. A script evidently tampered with by Raft and leading to a rushed and not entirely satisfying finale. But as a mystery it works well enough as the acid tongued dames are dangled in the narrative to keep the viewer as interested as our intrepid detective is. Marin does a grand job of mixing suspense with action, even opening the picture with a doozy of a plot set-up that is born out by some lovely fluid camera work, and while Wild's ("Murder, My Sweet") photography and Harline's music barely break the boundaries of mood accentuation, the tech credits are admirably unfurled to ensure the picture remains in credit. It helps that the support cast is a roll call of strong "B" movie players, and Raft fans get good value from an actor who was desperately trying to get away from the thuggish characters he was by then becoming known for. 7/10