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Almost Married (1932)

 -  Thriller  -  17 July 1932 (USA)
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Russian beauty Anita Mellikovna, traveling by train with a forged passport and carrying jewels, finds the police on her tail. Seeing Deene Maxwell, whom she met one summer in Scotland, on a... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Violet Heming ...
Anita Mellikovna
...
Deene Maxwell
Alexander Kirkland ...
Louis Capristi / Charles Pringle
Alan Dinehart ...
Inpector Slante
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mary Gordon ...
Cook
Tempe Pigott
Gustav von Seyffertitz
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Storyline

Russian beauty Anita Mellikovna, traveling by train with a forged passport and carrying jewels, finds the police on her tail. Seeing Deene Maxwell, whom she met one summer in Scotland, on a train across the tracks, Anita climbs out of her train and enters his compartment. Deene, a British official traveling to Moscow, suggests they pose as husband and wife, since he has diplomatic immunity, and offers to marry her at the British Embassy. After the wedding, Anita reveals that she is already married to an eccentric, violent composer, Louis Capristi, whom she left on their wedding night after he threatened her. Meanwhile, Capristi, under the name Charles Pringle, is imprisoned in an English asylum for the criminally insane since he strangled a woman to death. Anita and Deene are happily in love in England when they are confronted by Capristi, who escaped after he heard about their marriage. Capristi threatens to have them arrested for bigamy unless they allow him to stay a few days until... Written by Anonymous

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Thriller

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Release Date:

17 July 1932 (USA)  »

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1.37 : 1
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The running time was given variously by different magazines and newspapers as 67 minutes (Film Daily), 50 minutes (Variety) and 51 minutes (Motion Picture Herald). See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mis-titled, but effective thriller
21 November 2009 | by (LI, NY) – See all my reviews

With a title like "Almost Married", you'd think this was a screwball comedy or perhaps a drama. It's actually a thriller that even has some horror overtones. It also is a misnomer in that the lead female is not 'almost' married, but married twice which is what triggers the plot.

It is an extremely rare film which was made by Fox. The print I saw ran around 47 minutes and was missing the opening titles. What I saw picked up where Ralph Bellamy plays Deene Maxwell, who is in a train car with a woman on the run named Anita. They are in Russia and he is British, so he offers to marry her as he can get her out of the country safely. She agrees but later tells him that she is still married to an insanely violent composer named Louis Capristi whom she ran away from. Capristi was extremely jealous and would kill her if he found her. Naturally, he finds out about it in the insane asylum where he is and breaks out. He comes to their home and threatens to ruin their names by telling everyone she's a bigamist. But, what he really wants is revenge.

Ralph Bellamy and Alan Dinehart are the familiar actors here. Bellamy does not try a British accent, nor Dinehart as the Scotland Yard Inspector (with all of the British actors in Hollywood in 1932 you would think they could have hired two). Violet Heming plays Anita. I'm not familiar with this actress, but she must have been a stage actress as she has very few film credits. Alexander Kirkland, who also has few film credits, plays Capristi in a completely over-the-top performance. He almost seems to be trying to duplicate Dwight Frye in 'Dracula' or Bela Lugosi in 'Murders in the Rue Morgue'. It takes a little getting used to, but I found it an acceptable performance for this type of film.

What is most impressive are some of the early scenes in the asylum. They're very reminiscent of 'Cabinet of Dr. Caligari', though the effect comes from set construction and not painted flats. The lighting is creepy and Gustav Von Seyferritz gets a few minutes as the doctor of Mr. Capristi. The padded walls and the bars with lots of under-lighting and shadows are effective. So, too is the scene later in the film where Capristi encounters a poor French girl who recognizes him after he has escaped.

Sound is used effectively for a few nice touches. Bellamy has an obligatory line early on to Anita where he tells her "everything's going to be all right" which is immediately interrupted by a loud knock (which of course tells us things won't be all right). Also, when Capristi comes to their home, he re-introduces himself by playing the piano off-screen which Anita recognizes and disturbs her.

'Almost Married' is a nice little horror-thriller that is unfortunately a victim of time. William Cameron Menzies' direction is adequate, but definitely lacking camera movement that could have built suspense. He did a better job in 'Chandu' later that year. That being said, there may be a bit of footage missing. It definitely feels like a bare bones version of what it may have been. If you like 1930's styled horror you will enjoy it.


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