A writer meets a young socialite on board a train. The two fall in love and are married soon after, but her obsessive love for him threatens to be the undoing of both them and everyone else around them.
A dazed woman walks the streets of Los Angeles looking for a man named David. After collapsing in a diner, she's taken to the psychiatric ward of a nearby hospital. Flashbacks reveal her ... See full summary »
Novelist Richard Harland and socialite Ellen Berent meet on a train to New Mexico. They are immediately attracted to each other, soon fall in love and decide to get married, about which everyone they know is happy except Ellen's fiancé back home, politician Russell Quinton. However, Richard and Ellen's love for each other is different than that of the other as Ellen demonstrates in the manner which she tells everyone of their impending marriage. Ellen's love for Richard is an obsessive, possessive one, much like the love she had for her now deceased father, who Richard physically resembles. Ellen wants Richard all to herself and resents anyone who even remotely takes a place in his life and heart, even if his love for that person is not a romantic one. These people include most specifically Richard's physically disabled teen-aged brother Danny Harland, Ellen's own adopted sister Ruth Berent, and a young man neither has gotten a chance to really know yet. After time, Richard learns to ... Written by
The famous (and dramatic) swimming scene that takes place in the lake for Darryl Hickman's character was in water so cold that the young actor caught pneumonia. See more »
When Danny sets off on his ill-fated swim across the lake, Ellen (Gene Tierney) follows after him in the row boat. The shadow of overhead filming or boom mike equipment can be seen on her back as she starts rowing. See more »
Can a film noir be effective in glorious colour or is that a contradiction in terms? Anyway I found this lesser-known thriller to be as exciting and involving as any other black-and-white-mean-streets scenario that the 40's threw up. Tightly plotted, well acted and above all, beautifully photographed, I was gripped from first to last. My only caveats might have been the "framing" device of Cornel Wilde's lawyer's top-and-tail introduction and epilogue, which just takes away a little of the dramatic tension, an over-intrusive musical score, particularly at Wilde and Tierney's first "strangers on a train" meeting and also the fact that more wasn't made of the conclusion of the otherwise tautly drawn crucial trial scene. The acting is top-rate, with no discernible weak links. Wilde, as the duped author, shows hidden depths to his handsome exterior, Crain, in a sub De-Havilland part modulates her performance winningly as her character's importance to the plot develops and Vincent Price is absolutely excellent as Tierney's abandoned fiancé, a lawyer on the make who convincingly destroys Wilde and Crain in his vengeful piece-de-resistance as the prosecuting counsel. What a shame he was later reduced to his stereotype cackling mad-man persona of seemingly dozens of horror films. He's a revelation here, almost stealing the movie in said trial scene where he's made to recite long pieces of staccato dialogue which he delivers pitch-perfect. Gene Tierney, of course, is enthralling in the pivotal role of the possessed / possessive Ellen, who uses her obvious beauty and sophistication to ensnare Wilde, before taking off into psychopath territory, which sees her effectively kill Wilde's disabled but adored younger brother and devise an almost perfect beyond-the-grave trap for Wilde and Crain to fall into. Great as all these pluses are, I keep coming back to the cinematography which captures like no other film I've ever seen tones of radiant beauty in almost every shot, both interior and exterior. In fact all I can say to finish is that I could find very little to fault this glorious but unheralded example of the golden age of Hollywood.
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