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Old friends Ward and Phillip both become smitten with Phillip's mother's attractive young secretary Stella. But Stella marries Phillip and stands by him as his behavior becomes more and more erratic and his jealousy of Ward increases. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
W.S. Van Dyke took over the direction of the movie from Robert B. Sinclair, who became ill shortly after shooting began. Van Dyke was in the Marines, but was granted a 14-day leave to finish the picture. Neither Sinclair nor Van Dyke was available for retakes, which were then directed by Richard Thorpe. See more »
The movie commences with a quote, "Heaven hath no rage like love to hatred turned", which it attributes to Milton. The quote is in fact from William Congreve's play The Mourning Bride. See more »
Unfortunately, the contrived melodrama never gels despite a fine turn from George Sanders as the gentlemanly Ward Andrews. The main problem is the way Montgomery's paranoid character Philip Monrell is written. His transitions from normalcy to lunacy are simply to abrupt to believe, causing me, at least, to wonder how he could possibly maintain his executive position at the steel plant, or function among other walks of life.
Then too, actor Montgomery underplays the part to a fault, giving little evidence of the struggle that must be going on within the tormented Monrell. On the other hand, we know from the classic thriller Night Must Fall (1937) how effectively the polished Montgomery can project menace when called upon. I suspect the lack of continuity among this movie's directors has something to do with his lackluster performance. At least, Bergman gets a good warm-up for her Oscar-winning role as the wife of consummate nut-case and schemer Charles Boyer in the classic Gaslight (1944).
Here, however, that last five minutes is a race against time, with Homolka (Dr. Rameau) hamming it up shamelessly. It's about the last word in overdone plot contrivance, and a long, long way from the subtleties of Gaslight. Too bad such key elements fail to gel since the production itself is handsomely produced by the glossy MGM. All in all, the film's a genuine disappointment given the talent involved.
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