Crime by Night (1944): Clemens’ Crime Drama, Starring Jane Wyman and Jerome Cowan

William Clemens directed Crime by Night, a drama starring Jane Wyman and Jerome Cowan, based on Geoffrey Homes’s novel, Forty Whacks. 

Larry Borden’s career as a concert pianist ended when a dispute with wealthy father-in-law Harvey Carr ended up with his hand chopped by an ax. Carr is found dead from a blow by an axe and Larry is the prime suspect.

Larry hires detective Sam Campbell (Cowan), who alongside secretary-partner Robbie Vance (Wyman) arrive from New York to help. Harvey’s daughter and Larry’s ex-wife Irene also turns up.

Irene is now engaged to Paul Goff, a singer who’s represented by the agent Ann Marlow. Carr’s death involved a wartime spy ring and a chemical plant he owned. Goff is implicated, but he is the next murder victim.

Sam and Robbie, deducing that Ann is the actual spy, solve the case and save Larry, which frees them to return to New York.

Jane Wyman as Robbie Vance
Jerome Cowan as Sam Campbell
Faye Emerson as Ann Marlow
Charles Lang as Paul Goff
Eleanor Parker as Irene Carr
Stuart Crawford as Larry Borden
Cy Kendall as Sheriff Max Ambers
Charles C. Wilson as District Attorney Hyatt


I am grateful to TCM for showing the film on December 17, 2019.