Documentary Investigates Lady of the Dunes Mystery

PROVINCETOWN – A Massachusetts-based filmmaker is premiering a new documentary that takes a closer look at one of the oldest unsolved murder cases in the state’s history.

Producer Frank Durant’s new film “The Lady of the Dunes” investigates the murder of an unidentified woman whose body was found at Race Point Dunes in July of 1974.

When working on an earlier project in Provincetown, Durant said several people on Cape Cod encouraged him to research the case.

Once he realized there was enough of a story to warrant a feature-length film, Durant set out to get the blessing of the family of former Provincetown Police Chief James Meads, who worked on the case for years.

Durant said he tried to use some of the same investigation methods that the late Meads utilized.

The producer credited the years or work local and state police have put into the case, although he is hopeful the film can lead to a push for further forensic work.

“The goal of this documentary is to get every audience member who views this to start asking questions and push the authorities to push to solve this case,” Durant said.

Throughout the interview process, the filmmaker said that one of his main focuses was discerning between fact and fiction surrounding the infamous murder.

Durant said that there has been misinformation about the crime that has spread over the years. He cited one example where writer Joe Hill theorized that the unidentified victim may have been an extra in the film Jaws. The new film disproves the theory.

In hopes of the documentary not becoming exploitative, Durant said that he was careful during the editing process to keep the film centered on information related to the case and tried to leave out clips where the subject became too emotional for people.

When asked why stories like this capture the public’s attention, Durant talked about the specifics of what drew him into learning more about the cold case.

“It’s the discarding of a human life. At the same time no one has come forward saying I have a missing sister, a missing daughter, a missing friend, a missing neighbor,” Durant said.

There will be free screenings of the film at Cape Cinema in Dennis on Friday April 1st and at the Provincetown Theater on Saturday April 2nd. Durant encouraged those interested in attending to donate to the venues since the events are free. 

To find out more about the screenings, contact Cape Cinema or the Provincetown Theater.

By Brian Engles, NewsCenter

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