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Erich von Stroheim,
Mary Beth Hughes,
Paul, a young man whose father was once lieutenant Governor of California before his untimely death, has a strange, recurring dream in which his mother falls in love with a dangerous man (Brett Curtis), a dream which also contains the image of his father's death in an automobile accident under mysterious circumstances. Through the help of his friend, a psychiatrist, Paul realizes that his dream is coming true, and that his mother is falling under Curtis's influence. Curtis, in fact, is a homicidal maniac who lives as an out-patient at the sanitarium of the unscrupulous Dr. Muhlbach. When Curtis makes an attempt to marry Paul's mother, Paul intervenes, and after a series of events discovers the truth behind his dreams. Written by
Wheeler Winston Dixon
****SPOILERS**** Having recurring dreams of his fathers Judge Cartwright tragic and deadly train accident every night Paul Cartwright,James Lydon, is convinced that his fathers death was no accident but a murder and the person who murdered his father is in his dream and in the shadows not being able to be recognized.
Being very protective of his mother Virginia,Sally Eilers,Paul gets very agitated and concerned when she gets engaged to marry a Mr. Brett Curtis, Warren Williams. Curtis comes across as a suave and sophisticated as well as well traveled gentleman who swept Virginia right off her feet. But Paul who feels that he's just not what he is and his background it's just too perfect to be real.
In his awakening state of mind Paul sees the events in his dream accruing over and over in real life which convinces him that there's something very strange and sinister about the very debonair and smooth talking Brett Curtis. Paul also has a grudging feeling that Brett is the man in the shadows in his dream who was responsible for his fathers death and also wants to keep his mother from marrying him.
Early cinematic psychological study about the mind and it's deepest secrets and how they come to the surface when we least expect them to Which makes the movie "Strange illusions" a unique movie for it's time, 1945, and as far as I know has never been duplicated since.
Things in the film like Brett's strange behavior in regards to Paul whom he senses is somehow on to him and his intentions has him lose his cool from time to time and almost expose himself as the psychotic that he really is.
Paul has tapped into something real and deadly through his subconscious, his dreams, but unknowing to Paul Brett is working with Professor Muhlbach,Charles Arnt, who runs the Restview Sanitarium where Paul will soon be staying at. Looking into his late fathers files, that he kept locked in his study, Paul finds out about a mysterious Mr. Claude Barrington who Paul's father was very interested in.
Judge Cartwright felt that Barrington committed a string of crimes from murder and rape to embezzlement dating back to 1932 when he was married to the former miss. Cecilia Gordon who was found drowned some six months after their marriage.
Barrington seemed to have vanished and then popped up and commit crimes almost at will all across the American Southwest. Barrington has a talent to disappear and resurface after each crime with a new and bogus identity and successfully avoided being fingerprinted or photographed. It was Judge Cartwright's closing in on him and being about to expose him and have him arrested, and made to pay for his crimes, that led to his unfortunate "accident".
Paul also feels that Barrington faked his own death and is now back to eliminate those who may be able to expose him as still being alive by being in the position of finding Judge Cartwright secret files; the Judge's family. Paul is sure that the late Claude Barrington is the very alive Brett Curtis.
Having to get rid of Paul but not until Brett is legally married to Virginia Brett and Professor Muhlbach plan to have Paul committed in his sanitarium and then have an "Accident" that will put his searching for the truth, about his dead father, to an end once in for all.
With Brett married to Virginia he can offer her sympathy comfort and understanding for the loss of her son and his step-son until the time is right for her to have an "Accident" too. With that Brett can get his hands on the Cartwright estate, and all the evidence that the judge gathered on him, and have it destroyed with no one who can be in the position to know about it, the Judge's files, or get their hands on them. Mind twisting movie with a surprise ending that will more then just surprise.
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