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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
Although I would hesitate to call it "film noir," Strange Illusion is a tightly woven, intriguing mystery. For a Poverty Row production, the writers and Ulmer paced the film well and kept it interesting. The acting, although amateurish at times, doesn't distract from a believable story. My only real complaint about the film is the music-- too much and too loud.
Brett's penchant for teenage girls is a refreshingly realistic perversion for a film of the '40s. It also stands in stark contrast to the "gee whiz" scenes which seem lifted straight out of "Leave It to Beaver."
I rate it 7/10.
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