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When Strangers Marry (1944)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery  |  21 August 1944 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 436 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 7 critic

A naive small-town girl comes to New York City to meet her husband, and discovers that he may be a murderer.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Paul Baxter
...
Mildred Baxter
...
Fred Graham
...
Lieutenant Blake
Lou Lubin ...
Jacob Houser
Milton Kibbee ...
Charlie (as Milt Kibbee)
Dewey Robinson ...
Newsstand Owner
Claire Whitney ...
Middle-Aged Woman
Edward Keane ...
Middle - aged Man
Virginia Sale ...
Chambermaid
Dick Elliott ...
Sam Prescott
Lee 'Lasses' White ...
Old Man (as Lee White)
Marta Mitrovich ...
Baby's Mother
Billy Nelson ...
Louisville Driver
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Storyline

A naive small-town girl comes to New York City to meet her husband, and discovers that he may be a murderer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Like a blast from the sky...a DRAMATIC THUNDERBOLT that builds to a crashing climax! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 August 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Betrayed  »

Box Office

Budget:

$50,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cut between a screaming woman discovering a body and a whistling locomotive is a direct steal from Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps (1935). See more »

Soundtracks

Boogie Woogie
(uncredited)
Music by Lorenzo Flennoy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
WHEN STRANGERS MARRY (William Castle, 1944) ***
17 February 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

William Castle's first noteworthy effort (incidentally, the copy I acquired bore a new title - BETRAYED!) was made at Poverty Row studio Monogram within a genre he would intermittently return to until the genial director saw he could particularly make a mint with Horror. It is a noir with a distinct Hitchcock feel: in fact, the plot bears obvious nods to both SUSPICION (1941) and SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943), a murder attempt is borrowed wholesale from FOREIGN CORRSPONDENT (1940), and there is even Castle's own 'appearance' (which is actually treated as a recurring in-joke here!).

It was an equally important film for Robert Mitchum, not only because it showed that his star was definitely rising but in view of the fact that the ultimate revelation as to his character's true nature would be reworked in some of his later (and most impressive) work. Curiously enough, I was under the impression that he would be the suspected murderer husband – but the way things played out, I must congratulate the scriptwriters (including Philip Yordan) on their ingenuity. Leading lady Kim Hunter (ideally cast as the fresh-faced bride) had just come off the Val Lewton production THE SEVENTH VICTIM (1943), while Dean Jagger has an atypical lead role (it is even more unusual to see him sporting a full head of hair!) – their awkwardness is never more effectively delineated than when they find themselves stranded inside a Harlem nightclub (showcasing an over-enthusiastic black dancer). Also on hand is Neil Hamilton (later Commissioner Gordon in the campy but popular BATMAN TV series of the 1960s) already in his element as a Police Inspector; incidentally, his ambivalent relationship with Mitchum throughout pays off in droves during the frenzied climax.

Despite the evident economy of means, the film still displays considerable style along the way (atmospheric chiaroscuro lighting, effective low-angle shooting, an imaginative hallucination sequence, etc.); the role-reversal in the opening and closing scenes is a nice touch, too. For the record, I own several more of Castle's (by all accounts, lesser) noirs but I probably will not have time to fit any of them in my current schedule...


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