Night Editor Film Details
Overview: “Night Editor” was based on the already existing radio program in which a newspaper editor would recount the ‘inside story’ of some bit newspaper story, and later became a television series: This time, a night editor of a newspaper i
Tagline: In the middle of a kiss…Murder!
Review: With a title like Night Editor, you might imagine this 1946 noir was about an intrepid newspaperman who gets too involved in one of the crime stories he’s investigating. Actually Night Editor refers to a bunch of reporters huddled around a poker table shooting the breeze at a fictional newspaper office, The New York Star. The chief editor is named Crane Stewart (Charles D. Brown) who serves as the narrator of a crime story about to unfold on the screen. The story takes place around 20 years earlier during the height of Prohibition. The protagonist is NYPD Lt. Tom Cochrane (William Gargan), a family man who’s having a sultry affair with a femme fatale, Jill Merrill (Janis Carter). One night, while parked in a car in a deserted area of the city, the couple witnesses the arrival of another vehicle-shortly thereafter the man in the other car murders the woman he’s with by bludgeoning her numerous times with a hammer. Merrill warns Cochrane not to get involved as their illicit affair will be potentially exposed in the papers as a result of an anticipated police investigation. Heeding Merrill’s advice, Cochrane allows the murderer to escape. This constitutes the break into the Second Act in which the aforementioned police investigation comes to fruition. Cochrane is put in the awkward position of being one of the investigators on the case, investigating the murder that he was a witness to. There are enough twists and turns here to keep us interested in the plot: it turns out that Merrill already was acquainted with the murderer, a bank employee by the name of Douglas Loring (Frank Wilcox). For a short time, he’s let off the hook when the police pick up a drifter and accuse him of the murder (he’s found with items belonging to the deceased victim). Cochrane can no longer condone his own coverup and gathers evidence linking Loring’s fingerprints to his fingerprints found in his car. When confronted at the DA’s office, Loring admits to having an affair with the victim and claims he was in her car hours before the murder occurred. In a good plot twist, Merrill appears and temporarily saves him by offering an ironclad alibi (she claims she went to the movies with him during the time the murder occurred). All appears lost until Cochrane recalls the investigation uncovered a tire tread indicating the car he was in had a flat tire. He offers this up as proof that his story he was with Merrill and witnessed the murder was true. One of the great strengths of this “B” picture is the exceptional performance of Janis Carter as a truly evil femme fatale. She’s icy to the hilt and portrays the character’s manipulative and dangerous nature with great verisimilitude. When Cochrane explains to her at her house party that the jig is up, she stabs him with an ice pick. Cochrane haltingly makes his way out the front door of the house with Merrill and then collapses. The wound is not fatal but Cochrane must be punished as per Hays Code protocol. Interestingly enough, Cochrane never cries out for help when stabbed by the femme fatale-it’s as if he accepted the idea that he would be required to take the first draft of his “medicine.” The more important medicine he must subsequently take is of course the loss of his job as a cop. Flash back to the night editor as he concludes the narrative. There’s a nice little twist ending when a visiting detective at the newspaper office is revealed to be Cochrane’s son, Doc. And even better, we meet Cochrane down in the lobby-he’s working behind the cigarette counter. So indeed there is some refreshing redemption for the fallen police lieutenant. He doesn’t end up in jail and is no longer his maladjusted younger self chasing after sadistic women. Night Editor fails in its production design-there is virtually no attempt to suggest the earlier era of the 1920s-everyone is dressed in modern 1940s outfits. Nonetheless, despite the lack of major stars, the acting here is quite convincing coupled with an entertaining tale of long awaited moral redemption.
Country: United States
Duration: 68 min
Genre: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Also known as: Night Editor,O Transviado,The Trespasser,Ночной редактор,Ronda Nocturna,To fili tis prodosias,Il veleno del peccato