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Reasons Why Conflict 1945 Murder Mystery Movie Is Interesting?

Monday, January 9, 2017
(*Warning for possible spoilers for Conflict, a black-and-white suspense film noir made by Warner Brothers)

Conflict (1945) is a murder mystery, but this differs from other murder mysteries because of how the audience isn’t made to wonder who the culprit could be. Instead, we are shown the killer’s identity and the question now is what happens after the crime is committed and on whether or not the culprit was able to pull off the perfect crime.

Conflict makes you ask questions

Humphrey Bogart, Alexis Smith and Sydney Greenstreet, warner brothers, conflict, 1945 murder mystery, movie, film, noir, suspense, black-and-white
This is one of the things that makes this movie interesting. Another is how it keeps the audience second-guessing themselves as they try to figure out what will happen next and what is really going on.

The film keeps you asking questions and trying to make you doubt what you think you know. It’s quite suspenseful that way as it keeps your attention and makes you look forward to finally being able to solve the mystery.

Is Kathryn Mason really dead or not?

For example, we see Richard Mason (played by Humphrey Bogart), the main character, kill his own wife, Kathryn Mason (played by Rose Hobart), so we know that she’s dead. Or, at least, we think that she’s dead.

We didn’t see her dead body as the film cleverly conceals that from us, but it very much heavily implies that she’s dead, what with how we saw her fall down a steep slope and with how she’s been reported missing and hasn’t shown up at all.

Reasons to think that Richard’s wife is still alive

conflict 1945 murder mystery movie, film, noir, suspense, black-and-white, warner brothers, kathryn mason
But then the movie shows us scenes that make us think that maybe Kathryn is actually still alive.

It’s not a farfetched idea at all since we didn’t actually see her dead body, so it seems plausible that she could be alive.

That belief is reinforced when we, along with Richard, see someone that looks like Kathryn walking around as if all was well.

Other events that occur, like how Richard gets a whiff of his wife’s perfume in their room or how her wedding ring appears in their safe again, can really make it seem as if Kathryn is either alive or is now a ghost and is haunting her killer. The latter can make you wonder if the Conflict film will also be including ghosts as part of its plot.

Can you figure out Conflict’s plot and storyline?

But, just when you think that you’ve got the film figured out already and that Kathryn really is still alive, other events transpire, which serve to confuse you all over again and make you wonder if maybe you’ve got it all wrong.

For instance, we later find out that Evelyn Turner (played by Alexis Smith), Kathryn’s little sister, actually has the same kind of perfume as Richard’s wife so she could have been the one who went inside the Masons’ bedroom.

Other such incidents now make us suspicious of Evelyn as we wonder if, maybe, for some reason, she actually knew that her sister was dead so now she was trying to scare Richard into confessing to his crime or something.

Is Richard Mason insane?

Conflict also makes you consider yet another possibility. It could be that Richard is simply going just a little bit insane because of what he did. It could be that he’s feeling guilty about murdering his own wife so now he’s hallucinating and thinking that maybe Kathryn is still alive or haunting him even though she’s really actually dead.

For example, when Richard thought he caught a glimpse of someone who looked like his wife, he was quick to follow after this person.

But when he arrived at her destination and banged at her door, it turns out that no one was living there.

He even inspected the place and opened all the doors, but he saw no one at all so it could be argued that he was just seeing things and that he just imagined seeing his wife alive.

The same could be said when he saw the locket that his wife supposedly pawned. He even saw her signature on the ledger, but when he brought the police there, the man he was talking to had been replaced by someone else and the ledger with Kathryn’s signature was nowhere to be found, making Richard and the audience doubt if what Mason saw was real or not.

As such, until the very end of the film, you’ll be left wondering exactly what’s going on as you try to figure things out. The end may come as a surprise to many, but it’s a wonderful surprise and this really adds to how appealing and interesting the Conflict movie can be.

*Notes:
- Image with added text was modified by Freya Yuki (CC:BY-SA) based on the image by hayashinomura (CC:BY-SA) from deviantArt
- Image is meant to symbolize Kathryn who may or may not be dead since the figure looks mysterious and could pass off as a ghost
- First pic is from Amazon.com; link shown above
- YouTube video features the trailer for the 1945 film Conflict

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