When a shady-looking stranger rides into town to join his old friend it is assumed he is a hired gun. But as the new man comes to realise the unlawful nature of his buddy's business and the... See full summary »
Barbara Bel Geddes,
Just as Nevada wins $7000 in yellowback bills, Ben Ide takes his #7000 in yellowbacks and heads out to buy mining equipment. Burridge has his man Powell kill Ide and retrieve the money and ... See full summary »
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
Two unsuccesful vaudeville entertainers decide to search for gold during the Californian goldrush in 1849. They come to a town where no woman lives. The dewellers of this town promise them ... See full summary »
A drifter claims the money in an old bank account. Soon he finds himself the target of two men who turn out to be the sons of the man's old partner, who is now in prison because of a ... See full summary »
Wartime drama about an idealistic young UN official (Ann Blyth) who finds out about the horrors of war when she falls in love with Colonel Steve Janowski (Robert Mitchum), the officer in ... See full summary »
A man who spent his formative years in prison for murder is released, and struggles to adjust to the outside world and escape his lurid past. He gets involved with a cheap dancehall girl, ... See full summary »
Only one year after The Chance, William Castle was developing his stylistic system with leaps and bounds. The opening scene of When Strangers Marry demonstrates creative blocking and staging. The mysterious big man at the bar has his back squared up to the camera but you will notice his shoulder slightly blocks out the front of the bartender's face. This is a nice touch in the directing to emphasize the physical size and thus ominous presence of the mystery man. This kind of technique greatly supports plot progression in focusing the line of questioning of the spectator immediately onto the identity of the unknown figure. Castle also explores the abilities and utility of mobile framing. The effect is not only solid construction of space but also formation of an energy and dynamism in directing that can translate to the mise-en-scene and diegetic world. Castle also defies other crutches of "B" status films through adhering to elements of continuity. Certain scenes involve hi-key lighting setups framing characters in closeup and in these shots, Castle is consistent in providing diegetic light sources that match up. A nice touch. Another nice touch is something out of the Jean Renoir book (high praise for Castle) when the depth of field and deep staging of certain scenes allows characters seen in the distance through apartment windows to contribute to the progression of the plot in a casual and realistic manner. Some Castle tropes get an early treatment in this film. The "Silk Stocking Murder" begs many questions, not the least being one about why the audiences were not provided with a gimmicky pair of stockings on their way into the theatre. Castle frames a clock which is a popular trope of his. He also makes an appearance in the film (through a framed photo) and becomes an integral part of the plot itself as opposed to holding mere decorative function. Castle's photo might be considered one of his early gimmicks and is certainly connected to my own thesis about his impresario directing playing on the enframing and "4th Wall" of screen-spectator identification. This interplay of interiority and exteriority runs throughout the film from the sequence at Coney Island (great montage) with the carny barker to the couple "taking in a movie". More Castle developments can be mentioned... the floating heads made a regular appearance in his famous gimmick horror films as well as the oblique framing of shadows. It is difficult to understand how Castle became stymied with primitive stylistic systems while he so crisply demonstrated a full understanding of who he was to become as a director in When Strangers Marry. And the film received high critical praise. This confounds me. The one Castle prerequisite element that I could do without however is the plot contrivances (shoot the scenarists and producers as well). Strangers has its fair share of contrivance from convenient gaps in the blasting of street music (just close the window!) to a missing persons report being filled with a homicide detective. The ending has a twist but is contrived and a little too cute for this reviewer. All in all, one of the superior directing efforts by Castle and an engaging film overall.
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