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Love from a Stranger (1947)

Approved | | Drama, Mystery, Romance | 15 November 1947 (USA)
A newly married woman begins to suspect that her husband is a killer. Even worse, she soon comes to believe that she will be his next victim.

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(screenplay), (play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
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...
Ann Richards ...
...
Isobel Elsom ...
Ernest Cossart ...
Billings
Philip Tonge ...
Anita Sharp-Bolster ...
Ethel
Frederick Worlock ...
Inspector Hobday (as Frederic Worlock)
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Storyline

Cecily Harrington, struggling along on a small allowance, wins a fortune in a lottery. She decides to travel rather than marrying her fiancé Nigel Lawrence. A stranger, Manuel Cortez, comes to rent her flat and she falls in love with him, and they are married. For their honeymoon, they go to an isolated English college where she, unlike the audience, doesn't realize she has married a fortune-hunting Bluebeard with a few murdered wives in his past. The question is will she be able to repent in leisure her decision to marry in haste. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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He lied, cheated, and killed all in the name of love.


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Approved | See all certifications »
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15 November 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hideout for Horror  »

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(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

Remake of A Night of Terror (1937) See more »

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A Somewhat Curious Remake
17 October 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In 1937 Basil Rathbone and Ann Harding were directed by Rowland V. Lee in the film LOVE FROM A STRANGER, based on a short story turned into a play by Agatha Christie. Set in contemporary England, Rathbone played a "gallant" type who sweeps the recently enriched Harding into a sudden marriage, and then plots to kill her. She gradually realizes her danger, and at the last moment turns the tables on him. It worked well, and so it was re-shot in 1947. Now it is John Hodiak and Sylvia Sidney who play the ill-fated couple, with John Howard as Sidney's one ally on the outside trying to help her.

It is odd for two reasons. First it was reset into late Victorian, early Edwardian England. The reason seems to have been based on the success in the last few years of Victorian melodramas at the box office (GASLIGHT, THE LODGER, HANGOVER SQUARE, THE VERDICT, THE WOMAN IN WHITE). This should not have been too difficult to do, for murders for profit has occurred in every time period and era. But it leads to a bit of historical theft (see below). The other reason is that the end was altered. The Harding/Sidney character's last trick was weakened in the remake, and Hodiak did not meet quite the same just deserts that Rathbone did. In fact, it becomes something of a steal from Robert Louis Stevenson's TREASURE ISLAND in the end.

The bit of historical theft was concerning Hodiak's background. Like Rathbone, he is a serial killer of wives (usually wealthy ones). In the earlier film, it turns out that Rathbone's earlier career was written up in a book of true crimes, including a photograph of him (with a beard), that was subject to his character trying to get possession of the book before a crime connoisseur could see the picture and go to the authorities. The same plot twist is in this film, but the picture is a newspaper drawing of Hodiak with a beard. But it mentions his earlier crime as being in South Africa (Hodiak's character is given a Spainish name). The possibility exists that Agatha Christie or the screenplay writers were acquainted with the late 19th Century career of wife murderer Frederick Bayley Deeming. Deeming murdered (as far as we know) two wives, and his four children in Liverpool, England (in 1891), and Melbourne, Australia (in 1892). Although money was not involved in either case, he was a con-man, who was extradited from Uruguay in South America in 1890 to serve time for fraud in England. He also tried to confuse witnesses at his murder trial in Melbourne by first shaving off his mustache, and then growing a beard at his trial. It did not work - he was hanged in Melbourne in May 1892. Not quite a fit, but close enough to make one wonder.


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