A Blueprint for Murder (1953)

Genres - Crime, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller, Detective Film  |   Release Date - Jul 24, 1953 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 76 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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A Blueprint for Murder is a moderately entertaining crime thriller. These kinds of films usually fall into two camps -- a "whodunit" mystery type or one in which the suspected villain is identified early on and the film becomes about how to stop the villain. Blueprint is one of the latter, which is generally much more difficult to pull off. Despite trying to sow some seeds of doubt along the way, the identity of the killer is established early on, which means that clever plotting and neat tricks are needed to add suspense and keep the story moving. Blueprint falls short in this area, both in the writing and in the directing. The story is a bit too cut and dried, and the method by which Joseph Cotton decides to "catch" his suspect feels contrived. Andrew L. Stone's direction is also a bit too by-the-book. A bit more imagination would have brought a higher level of excitement to the film. However, Blueprint does benefit from a fine cast. It's no surprise that Cotten is in his element here, serving the story quite well with his edgy voice and questioning eyes. And Jean Peters plays sultry, seductive and suspicious perfectly. The surprise is how good Gary Merrill, in a supporting role, turns out to be. Throw in fine support from Catherine McLeod and Jack Kruschen, and there's enough going on in Blueprint to make up for many of its flaws.