At her engagement party, Joan Ellis, your typical girl next door, acknowledges that the strange voice that she's heard all her life is coming from within herself. Joan's alter ego, a conniving and murderous woman named Karen, is becoming stronger and stronger and is threatening to take over her life. Joan negotiates with Karen. Although they do come to an agreement, Karen reneges on that agreement when the situation suits her. Karen ultimately wants the men in Joan's life, first her fiancé, Bob Arnold, then Eric Russell, a lawyer Joan meets in New York City. Joan does whatever she needs to to get rid of Karen, even if it a threat to her own life. Without knowing for certain what is wrong with Joan, those close to her, including Eric and Dr. Bergson, do whatever they can to save her. Written by
This '45 programmer--or "B" picture--is too simplistic to deal with a serious subject like multiple personality.
Only Edmund Gwenn can make the diagnosis sound mildly plausible--as incredible as it must have seemed to audiences at the time--and the script never goes deep enough into the girl's background to give us a convincing case history. This is strictly a superficial, but earnest and interesting attempt to tell the story of a girl with multiple personality disorder who commits a crime when her evil side takes over. Performances are only competent.
Little known actor Henry Daniell, Jr. is miscast as the unlucky boyfriend who is killed. (He was Judy Garland's handsome brother in 'Meet Me In St. Louis'). There is no chemistry between him and Miss Thaxter. Horace McNally (later Stephen), Minor Watson and Edmund Gwenn render good support. Miss Thaxter (a minor actress who appears to be styled after Laraine Day) has little chance to make her role credible.
An early film noir from MGM that is unfortunately much less effective than it could have been with a more fully developed script. By today's standards, when so much more is known about this kind of personality disorder, the overall story has a very flat effect indeed.
Some good camera tricks and crisp black and white photography give it some needed atmosphere. A nice try.
Trivia note: If you listen carefully to the voice of the alter ego, that sounds like AUDREY TOTTER dubbing the evil voice.
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