Red Murder is an iconic 1954 movie by Transbaum Films. It is a fictional version loosely based on the murder of Maarten Dolmatoff in Noble City. The movie title has a double meaning with red for communism, and for the red dress she prominently wears.
Maarten Dolmatoff (Arthur Horst) is a prominent socialist politician who is openly critical of Stalin. Due to his attacks on the ruthless dictator and his efforts to remove him from power, Soviet agents are sent out to find him and he goes on the run to Noble City. When the agents cannot find him, the KGB decides to send in their best man: a woman, actually. Svetlana Krasnikova (Florentine Fortesque) is a femme fatale with an uncanny ability for seducing and exterminating her targets. Unlike her male counterparts, she is successfully able to trace Dolmatoff to Lovia. She arrives at his house to seduce, and later kill him. She enters as discreetly as possible, not knowing that a neighbor has spotted her. Svetlana meets up with Maarten in order for him to fall under her charms, but with time she too falls in love with him. Shortly after, she decided to abandon her mission and not kill him. Soon the Soviet command realizes that something is wrong and sends in an elite squad to exterminate Dolmatoff and Krasnikova, but cannot find Svetlana. When Maarten is found dead, the neighbor is quick to implicate Svetlana in the matter. She is arrested by the police, but knows that the Soviets will get her. Giving up for dead, her spirits are lifted when she receives an anonymous package containing a gun. So, in an explosive finish, she seduces a guard to free her, she kills the agents in an epic gunfight, she blows up the prison using the agents' explosives and is seen parachuting down a cliff to a boat waiting in the water; here she finds Maarten, who explains he had a double (who was killed) and that he sent her the gun.
Production and reception Edit
The movie was directed by William Randolph, previously known for his film Rich Man's Pursuit. Unlike his previous film, Randolph used sharp focus for several key objects, like the gun and Svetlana's dress. Several objects became representative of ideas and concepts. When released, Red Murder was highly praised by the press for its original plot, "non-stop suspense" and excellent filming. As always, Florentine could not be praised enough for her performance, which is considered the best moment in Lovian film. The red dress used by Florentine has become a film icon, and is greatly focused in the remastered color version of 1966 (it is now in a museum). This movie was so well received that Transbaum made a sequel, Looks that Kill, for 1956.