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William Castle would of course go on to become best known for his gimmicky horror films; an oeuvre which includes the likes of House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler and Homicidal - but before then, he made a series of film noir/mystery thrillers; and When Strangers Marry is one of those. The film is only just over an hour long and I wouldn't be surprised to find that it was made as a 'B' feature for some bigger movie. However, in spite of that; the production values aren't bad and the cast all do well also. The plot is rather unlikely and focuses on the idea of a man and a woman getting married without really knowing each other. Millie Baxter is the female half of the equation; and she has been called, by her husband, to New York in order to meet with him. However, upon her arrival; he's not at the hotel, but by chance she is greeted by her old friend Fred Graham, who clearly carries a torch for her. Fred agrees to help her look for her husband and the pair begin tracking him across New York...but it soon becomes clear that there's something sinister surrounding his disappearance.
This was an early film appearance for Robert Mitchum, and it's clear that the producers knew he was going to be a star, although his role here is a secondary one. He leads the film from the back and William Castle never misses a chance to give the actor a close-up. It's not the actor's best performance by a long shot, but it shows some early promise. Kim Hunter is the female lead and her role gives her a chance to retread some of the same ground of her debut feature, Val Lewton's masterpiece The Seventh Victim. As you would expect considering the length of the film, the story is very tight and there is little in the way of diversions from the main plot line. The main plot itself is just about good enough to hold interest for the duration of the film, although I can imagine it would become more than a little tedious if the film were longer. The ending features a twist in the story; and for my money it's a rather convenient one that doesn't really make sense. There are some attempts to explain it and the holes it creates could be patched up...but it requires the viewer to suspend some disbelief. Still, there's worse ways to spend an hour and this is a decent film.
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