A young woman has two distinct personalities, one of whom is evil and constantly gets her in trouble.



(adaptation), (story "Alter Ego")

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Complete credited cast:
Henry H. Daniels Jr. ...
Bob Arnold
Kathleen Lockhart ...
Mrs. Ann Ellis
Francis Pierlot ...
Dr. George Wilton
Sharon McManus ...
Small Girl
Gladys Blake ...
Mr. Herkheimer
Eric Russell (as Horace McNally)
Oscar O'Shea ...
Capt. O'Malley
Minor Watson ...
Edward - the Governor
Virginia Brissac ...
Martha - the Governor's Wife


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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

crime wave | schizophrenia | See All (2) »


SHE LIVED TWO AMAZING LIVES! Darling of Society... Cruel Love-Killer





Release Date:

4 July 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alter Ego  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film made its initial USA telecast in Los Angeles Monday 10 December 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Philadelphia Saturday 16 February 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6); its San Francisco television premiere took place 18 March 1959 on KGO (Channel 7) and its earliest documented telecast in New York City took place 8 August 1959 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »


Karen: Did you think you could run away? Why don't you let me take over now?
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User Reviews

Underrated Product of Its Time…Gripping Film-Noir Forerunner
7 July 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Prototype Film-Noir from Stylist Arch Oboler Who Made His Name on the Radio with His Ultra-Popular "Lights Out" Program. Here He Adopts His Own Story "Alter-Ego" and Brings it to the Screen for MGM. This is One of the Few MGM Noirs of the First Wave. It Would Take Years Before the Haughty Studio Would Lend its Name Seriously to a Style So Dark.

Phyllis Thaxter Gives a Good Performance in a Soul-Baring Role. Steve McNally is Miscast but Manages to Look Desperate and Edmund Gwenn as the Psychiatrist Trying to Exorcise Thaxter's Other Personality, the Evil One, is a Good Try.

With its Roots in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Only Reference Point at This Point for Multiple Personalities On Screen, Oboler Delivers and Ultra-Stylish Descent into Schizophrenia.

The Film is Guilty of Way Too Much Verbiage, a Radio Drama Influence, but it Balances it with Film Flourishes that are Atmospheric and Stunning. The Movie Grips the Audience as it Tries to Explain and Expose Psychiatric Methods and Procedures. But the Truth is that Not Much Was Known at the Time and the Little that Was Known was Constantly Up for Debate in the Medical Community.

So it was No Easy Task Transferring This to the Movies. For Years Hollywood Gave it a Go with Extremely Inconsistent Results. It Was a Staple in Film-Noir and the Horror of Val Lewton but Main Stream and "A" Pictures were Reluctant to Take It On for Quite Some Time.

Overall, This Was a Great Early Effort and a Striking Forerunner to Film-Noir and the Psychological Pictures that Started a Run After the War and Never Stopped, and Actually Becoming a Genre of its Own (The Psychological Thriller).

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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