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Conflict 1945 Movie: How To Solve The Perfect Crime?

Sunday, December 4, 2016
(*Warning for possible spoilers for Conflict, a black-and-white suspense film noir made by Warner Brothers)

Conflict (1945) introduces us to Richard Mason (played by Humphrey Bogart), an engineer, who is married to Kathryn Mason (played by Rose Hobart). However, he’s actually in love with his wife’s younger sister, Evelyn Turner (played by Alexis Smith). So he plots to get rid of Kathryn so he can be free to be with Evelyn instead.

Is it possible to commit the perfect crime?

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Since this is a murder mystery, Richard’s way of getting his wife out of the way is, of course, by killing her.

The question now is if the engineer was able to commit the perfect crime and if he could actually get away with what he did.

If not, then how can he be caught or apprehended if there are seemingly no clues or evidence that would point to him being the culprit?

Foreshadowing and Chekhov’s Gun

One of the really good things about this movie is how it employs the proper use of foreshadowing (a clue that can indicate or predict what might possibly happen, but doesn’t make the show any less suspenseful or surprising for you) and what is known as a Chekhov’s Gun (don’t include useless or pointless things in the plot; if a detail, no matter how seemingly insignificant is mentioned or shown, it must have a purpose that is relevant to what will happen in the story).

Pay attention to all the details

The Conflict movie really makes you pay attention to all the little details because they can serve as very important clues to help you figure things out. For example, who would have thought that something as seemingly insignificant as a flower would have any bearing on the plot of this film or that it actually had any use aside from simply being a flower?

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Importance of a flower in Conflict

Near the beginning of the movie, Richard and Kathryn attend a party to celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary. Doctor Mark Hamilton (played by Sydney Greenstreet), a very good friend of theirs, gives Kathryn a flower, a rose, as a gift.

This flower is quickly forgotten and even the audience wouldn’t think much of it since it’s just a rose and how could it be important or even relevant to the plot? At first glance, it seemed that the only purpose of this flower was so that Doctor Hamilton could give Kathryn a gift.

But, later on, we see the appearance of yet another rose. Kathryn is on the way to a mountain resort, but she visits the doctor first before heading to her destination. Doctor Hamilton gives her a rose before she leaves. At this point, viewers wouldn’t think much of this gesture at all since we previously saw how the doctor gave Kathryn a flower in an earlier scene.

So it’s not strange or odd to see the doctor doing the same thing again. In fact, this act seems perfectly natural and, in the face of the events that soon follow, is quickly forgotten and deemed too unimportant to even be something that one should dwell on.

Who would have thought that this rose was actually very significant and would play an important role in getting Richard Mason apprehended as the criminal who killed his wife?

Richard said that his wife was wearing the rose flower the last time he saw her, but he shouldn’t have seen or even known about this because Kathryn only got that rose from Doctor Hamilton after she left Richard in their house and went off to see the doctor before heading for the mountain resort.

*Notes:
- Image with added text was modified by Freya Yuki (CC:BY-SA) based on the image by hayashinomura (CC:BY-SA) from deviantArt
- Rose in the image is meant to symbolize the rose flower that became an important clue in the movie
- Second pic is from Amazon.com; link shown above
- YouTube video features the Conflict trailer

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