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|Ray Milland||George Stroud|
|Charles Laughton||Earl Janoth|
|Maureen O'Sullivan||Georgette Stroud|
|George Macready||Steve Hagen|
|Rita Johnson||Pauline York|
|Elsa Lanchester||Louise Patterson|
|Harold Vermilyea||Don Klausmeyer|
|Dan Tobin||Ray Cordette|
|Harry Morgan||Bill Womack|
|Richard Webb||Nat Sperling|
|Elaine Riley||Lily Gold|
|Luis Van Rooten||Edwin Orlin|
|Lloyd Corrigan||Colonel Jefferson Randolph aka McKinley|
|Margaret Field||Second Secretary|
"The strangest and most savage manhunt in history!"
The story is told in flashback. When it begins, George Stroud (Ray Milland), editor-in-chief of Crimeways magazine, is shown hiding from building security behind the "big clock" ? the largest and most sophisticated one ever built, which dominates the lobby of the giant publishing company where he works, Janoth Publications in New York City.Stroud is eager to spend more time with his wife (Maureen O'Sullivan) and plans a long-postponed vacation from his job. He sticks to those plans despite being fired for it by his tyrannical publishing boss, Earl Janoth (Charles Laughton). Instead of meeting his wife at the train station as planned, however, Stroud finds himself preoccupied with the attention being shown him by Janoth's glamorous mistress, Pauline York (Rita Johnson), who proposes a blackmail plan against Janoth. When Stroud misses their scheduled train, his wife angrily leaves without him, so he begins drinking and spends the evening out on the town with York.Later that night, Janoth spots a man leaving York's apartment, but does not get a clear enough look at him to see that it is Stroud. Although Stroud's evening with York had ended platonically, Janoth assumes otherwise, leading to a quarrel which ends when he murders her. Janoth determines to locate the man he had seen leaving the apartment and then frame that man for the crime. Ironically, Janoth re-hires Stroud to lead the effort to find the man.Stroud then must balance the tasks of outwardly appearing to diligently lead Janoth's investigation and, at the same time, trying to prevent that investigation from uncovering the fact that it is he who is the very target of it. Meanwhile, he must also secretly carry out his own investigation to gather the evidence necessary to prove who the real murderer is.