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The Second Woman (1950)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery | 7 July 1950 (USA)
In flashback from a 'Rebecca'-style beginning: Ellen Foster, visiting her aunt on the California coast, meets neighbor Jeff Cohalan and his ultramodern clifftop house. Ellen is strongly ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Ellen Foster
...
Keith Ferris
Florence Bates ...
Amelia Foster
Morris Carnovsky ...
Dr. Hartley
Henry O'Neill ...
Ben Sheppard
Jean Rogers ...
Dodo Ferris
Raymond Largay ...
Major Badger
Shirley Ballard ...
Vivian Sheppard
Vici Raaf ...
Sue - Secretary
...
Stacy Rogers (as Jason Robards)
Steven Geray ...
Balthazar Jones
...
Mr. Nelson (as Jimmy Dodd)
Smoki Whitfield ...
Elmer - Porter (as Smokey Whitfield)
Cliff Clark ...
Police Sergeant
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Storyline

In flashback from a 'Rebecca'-style beginning: Ellen Foster, visiting her aunt on the California coast, meets neighbor Jeff Cohalan and his ultramodern clifftop house. Ellen is strongly attracted to Jeff, who's being plagued by unexplainable accidents, major and minor. Bad luck, persecution...or paranoia? Warned that Jeff could be dangerous, Ellen fears that he's in danger, as the menacing atmosphere darkens. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Not since Hitchcock's REBECCA such a Masterpiece of Suspense! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 July 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Here Lies Love  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene, the Robert Young character is discovered suffocated by heavy carbon monoxide in a sealed garage, but nobody else coming in the garage is affected by the deadly gas. See more »

Quotes

Jeff Cohalan: Let's see what the tea leaves say about you... there's a trick my grandmother taught me; she learned it from an old witch in Ireland.
Ellen Foster: And so you've been drinking coffee ever since.
See more »

Connections

References Rebecca (1940) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Atmospheric Mystery Thriller The Second Woman Is First Rate Entertainment
12 July 2011 | by (North Texas sticks (see all my reviews)) – See all my reviews

The Second Woman is a stylish mystery thriller staring second tier leads Robert Young and Betsy Drake and directed by second tier director James V. Kern. But there is nothing second rate about the finished product. This movie is visually and dramatically stimulating from beginning to end.

Young plays an architect brooding over the death of his fiancé in an auto crash in which he was the driver the previous year. After a series of apparent accidents, including a suspicious injury to his horse and a fire at his house, it appears that either someone is out to get him, or he is actually doing destructive things to himself because he is a dangerously off-his-nut paranoiac. The local doctor (Morris Carnovsky) believes the latter. His newly acquired girl friend (Drake), who works in statistical studies for an insurance company, turns detective to prove it is the former. The mystery unfolds at a leisurely pace at first but gradually builds tension with surprising twists and turns of the plot. As with any good thriller, you begin to suspect everyone. A brooding, almost Gothic mood is maintained by Joseph Nussbaum's haunting Tchaikovsky-based score and Hal Mohr's alternately dark and luminous black and white cinematography. Frequent shots of the surf crashing on the lonely rocks of the Central California shore help set the forlorn ambiance. Kern's direction is precise, dialog is intelligent, editing smooth. Young and Drake are charming, and they get expert support from Carnovsky, Henry O'Neil, Florence Bates, and John Sutton.

The Second Woman successfully blends elements of mystery, noir, Gothic, and romantic melodrama. Though released in July 1950, its sensuous style and feel seem to belong more to the l940's than to the 'fifties. But when decades are accounted properly, the year 1950 is actually the last year of the decade we nickname "the forties". In any case it was made near the end of an era. Due to collapse of the studio systems, death and retirement of key personnel, adverse changes in public taste, and other factors, by the end of the 1950's they would no longer be able to make pictures as classy and entertaining as The Second Woman.

Top entertainment from Hollywood's Golden Era.


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