Nocturne (1946 film)

Nocturne is a 1946 black-and-white film noir starring George Raft and Lynn Bari. The film was produced by longtime Alfred Hitchcock associate Joan Harrison, scripted by Jonathan Latimer, and directed by Edwin L. Marin.[2]

Theatrical release poster
Directed byEdwin L. Marin
Produced byJoan Harrison
Screenplay byJonathan Latimer
Story by
Music byLeigh Harline
CinematographyHarry J. Wild
Edited byElmo Williams
Distributed byRKO Pictures
Release date
  • October 29, 1946 (1946-10-29) (United States)[1]
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States


The film opens on a Hollywood film composer as he creates a new song called "Nocturne". As he plays his piano, a woman sits in the shadows and listens to the composer dump her. Moments later, the composer is shot and killed.

The police think it is suicide, but detective Joe Warne suspects murder. Warne begins looking for "Dolores," because of the dedication on "Nocturne". While investigating, Warne finds out the composer was a womanizer who called all of his girlfriends Dolores.

Warne's ruthless questioning tactics lead several suspects to report him for abuse. Pursuing the case with dogged determination, the obsessed Warne is suspended from the police force. As he digs deeper into the murder, the clues draw him closer to Frances Ransom, but he deduces that she was framed by Ned Ford.

Ford was enraged that his wife Carol had merely been the composer's latest conquest. When he found out that the composer had no intention of marrying Carol, Ford decided to kill him. Warne turns Ford over to the police, and reveals to Frances that he knew almost from the beginning that she was not the murderer.



George Raft and Edward Marin had just made Johnny Angel together from RKO which proved popular. Raft's and Marin's involvement in Nocturne was announced in September 1945.[3] (In between Johnny Angel and Nocturne, Raft and Marin made Mr. Ace for Benedict Bogeaus.)

Joan Harrison was signed by RKO to produce the film in October.[4]

Joseph Pevney was brought out from Broadway to play a supporting role. Jane Greer was up for the female lead but George Raft went for the better-known Lynn Bari.[5] Bari was borrowed from 20th Century Fox. Filming started in May 1946.[6]

Raft reportedly did some rewriting of the script to make his character more sympathetic.[7]


Box office

The film was popular on release and recorded a profit of $568,000.[8]

Critical reception

When the film was released, the staff at Variety magazine wrote, "Nocturne is a detective thriller with action and suspense plentiful and hard-bitten mood of story sustained by Edwin L. Marin's direction."[9] "Moments of suspense and excitement... are rare," wrote the New York Times.[10] The Los Angeles Times called it "a skillfully worked out murder melodrama."[11]


  1. "Nocturne: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  2. Nocturne at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  3. FOX TO BASE FILM ON OSS ACTIVITIES: 'Diplomatic Courier' Will Deal With Its Counter-Espionage-- 'Mildred Pierce' at Strand Of LocaL Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 28 Sep 1945: 16.
  4. NEWS OF THE SCREEN: Joan Harrison Signed by RKO to Produce 'Nocturne, Starring George Raft--U.S. to See 'Marie-Louise' Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 16 Oct 1945: 31.
  5. Everett Aaker, The Films of George Raft, McFarland & Company, 2013 p 124.
  6. LYNN BARI NAMED FOR RKO FILM LEAD: Will Star Opposite George Raft in 'Nocturne,' Mystery Story --'Open City' Held Over Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 30 Apr 1946: 17.
  7. Miller, Frank. "Nocturne". Turner Classic Movies.
  8. Richard Jewell & Vernon Harbin, The RKO Story. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1982. p216.
  9. Variety. Sattf film review, 1946. Accessed: August 6, 2013.
  10. THE SCREEN. (1946, Nov 11). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  11. Scott, J. L. (1946, Dec 19). Murder tale clever fare. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
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