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The Secret Fury (1950)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  21 February 1950 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 385 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 3 critic

During the ceremony marrying Ellen and David, a stranger stands up when that phrase "if anyone knows why these two may not be joined..." is spoken. The stranger announces that Ellen is ... See full summary »

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, (story) (as Jack R. Leonard) , 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
David McLean
Jane Cowl ...
Aunt Clara Ewing
Paul Kelly ...
District Attorney Eric Lowell
...
Gregory Kent
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Dr. Twining
Doris Dudley ...
Pearl Collins
Dave Barbour ...
Lucian Randall
...
Leah
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Storyline

During the ceremony marrying Ellen and David, a stranger stands up when that phrase "if anyone knows why these two may not be joined..." is spoken. The stranger announces that Ellen is already married. Ellen however insists she is not, and the strain of proving she is telling the truth pushes her mind towards a breakdown and results in the death of the man she has supposedly already married (among others.) Ellen is charged with this death. But David believes in her innocence and sets out to uncover the conspiracy and the reason behind it. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

conspiracy | trial | murder | insanity | See All (4) »

Taglines:

The Stranger at her wedding was a messenger of Fear and Evil! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 February 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die schwarze Lawine  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on September 21, 1950 with Claudette Colbert and Robert Ryan reprising their film roles. See more »

Goofs

When David McLean (Robert Ryan) looks at the reflection of the name of the boat "MONSOON" it appears upside down, of course, but also backwards: it should have looked like "WONSOON", not "NOOSNOW" which is what Ellen (Claudette Colbert) believed it was. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Balarrasa (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

The Jazz Me Blues
(uncredited)
Written by Tom Delaney
See more »

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User Reviews

 
outstanding cast wasted
25 April 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Why RKO even bothered to waste an outstanding cast in this preposterous dud of a thriller is hard to figure out. At the time it must have seemed like a tired retread of "Gaslight," "Suspicion," or even "Sorry, Wrong Number." The chief attractions for 21st century viewers are two actresses who aren't seen much in films: Jane Cowl and Vivian Vance. Cowl was a renowned leading lady of the stage for decades, beginning in 1903, and a successful playwright as well (she wrote and starred in "Smilin' Through," which was eventually filmed with Norma Shearer, just one of several roles she originated which were played by others in film adaptations). None of this background is particularly evident in her performance here, but her presence is of historical interest. Vance contributes a neat bit as a rather sinister hotel maid, reminding viewers that there was a lot more to her than Ethel Mertz. Colbert, called upon to play a variation on the woman being driven mad, which had already been done to perfection in far better films by the likes of Joan Fontaine and Ingrid Bergman, fulfills the obligations of the script - which isn't saying much. Through dialogue we are informed that she is a concert pianist, but nowhere does her connection to this profession impact the plot or her character. In one scene she plays the piano but she could just as well have been knitting a sweater. One can only surmise that the career references were tossed into the script as a classy, indirect way of explaining why a woman of her age had never been married before- she was too busy with her great career.

On paper this plot about a mysterious and inexplicable conspiracy against an innocent woman might have looked somewhat promising, but its drearily conventional presentation waters down the suspense. The best scenes are the ones that make some attempt at atmosphere: a tightly staged encounter between Vance and Robert Ryan in a hotel linen storage room and a noir-ish one in Vance's cheap boarding house; also, a visitation by Colbert and her fiancé Ryan to a club where they sit in semi-frozen anticipation as an ensemble plays laid-back modern jazz. The depiction of a mental institution where Colbert is sent after breaking down in a courtroom is laughable. And finally, the resolution of the mystery is truly beyond belief.


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