GenreCrime, Drama, Film-Noir Music directorLeigh Harline Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateJuly 24, 1953 (1953-07-24) (United States) CastJoseph Cotten (Whitney 'Cam' Cameron), Jean Peters (Lynn Cameron), Gary Merrill (Fred Sargent), Catherine McLeod (Maggie Sargent), Jack Kruschen (Detective Lt. Harold Y. Cole), Barney Phillips (Detective Capt. Pringle) Similar moviesAppointment with Death, Tetro, And the Ship Sails On, Wild Orchids, Titanic, The Poseidon Adventure
TaglineEVERY INCH OF HER IS MURDER!
A Blueprint for Murder is a 1953 thriller film noir starring Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, and Gary Merrill. Andrew L. Stone wrote and directed the film.
Whitney "Cam" Cameron (Joseph Cotten) arrives at a hospital to be with his widowed sister-in-law Lynne (Jean Peters), whose stepdaughter Polly has died under mysterious circumstances. A doctor cannot determine the cause of the child's death.
Cam has great affection for his young nephew Doug (Freddy Ridgeway). He begins to fear for the boy's life when Maggie Sargent (Catherine McLeod), the wife of his lawyer, Fred (Gary Merrill), mentions that the dead girl's symptoms sound suspiciously as if she had been poisoned.
Fred reveals that the will of Cam's brother, who also died from unspecified causes, put all money into a trust for the boy. Lynne would inherit it all if anything happens to Doug.
Police, prodded by Cam, exhume the girl's body. Poison is found and Lynne is brought to court, where a judge dismisses the charges for a lack of evidence against her.
A desperate Cam can't think of any way to keep Doug safe, particularly once Lynne decides to take the boy away to Europe for at least a year. Cam surprises them by turning up on the ocean voyage. He begins romancing Lynne, all the while plotting to poison her.
He slips a tablet from her belongings into a cocktail. Lynne goes to great lengths to castigate Cam for his suspicions and demonstrate that the tablet contained nothing but aspirin. Cam leaves her stateroom, but a few minutes later, Lynne's life is saved by the ship's doctor, proving that she did indeed possess poison. A court soon sentences Lynne to prison for life.
Joseph Cotten as Whitney Cameron
Jean Peters as Lynne Cameron
Gary Merrill as Fred Sargent
Catherine McLeod as Maggie Sargent
Jack Kruschen as Det. Chief Hal Cole
Barney Phillips as Det. Capt. Pringle
Freddy Ridgeway as Doug
Alex Ball as Ship Passenger
Eugene Borden as Headwaiter
Herbert Butterfield as Judge at Preliminary Hearing
Harry Carter as Wheeler as Lynne's Chauffeur
Charles Collins as Pesticide Seller
Oliver Cross as Club Member
Jack Deery as Restaurant Patron
Pamela Duncan as Nurse
Herbert Ellis as First Detective at Desk
Art Flavin as Waiter
The movie received a mostly negative review in The New York Times. The film critic wrote, "Andrew Stone, the writer-director who flavored last season's The Steel Trap with such intriguing semi-documentary finesse, misses by a good mile in his latest case history, A Blueprint for Murder ... However, Mr. Stone's plodding fixation on conventionalized justice, redundantly stressed in the hero's narration, sidesteps any surprises along the way. Indeed, it loses conviction altogether before the climax, when he traps the culprit aboard an ocean liner, squiring her intended victim and enough strychnine—as Mr. Cotten accuses her, twice—to choke a horse. "This farce," replies the understandably surly Miss Peters, "has gone on long enough."