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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
Underrated Product of Its Time Gripping Film-Noir Forerunner
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 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).
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