The Second Woman (1950)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery  |  7 July 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 615 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 4 critic

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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Complete credited cast:
Ellen Foster
John Sutton ...
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
Jason Robards Sr. ...
Stacy Rogers (as Jason Robards)
Steven Geray ...
Balthazar Jones
Jimmie Dodd ...
Mr. Nelson (as Jimmy Dodd)
Smoki Whitfield ...
Elmer - Porter (as Smokey Whitfield)
Cliff Clark ...
Police Sergeant


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 July 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Here Lies Love  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The 'Matador' roses in this film are fictitious. The 'Matador' floribunda rose was not introduced until 1972. See more »


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 »


Ellen Foster: You think Jeff burnt down his own house and poisoned his own dog? That's impossible, no man in his right mi...
Dr. Raymond Hartley: That's right, no man in his *right* mind would do that.
See more »


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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seldom seen, pretty good flick ksf-2
Good film, unusual heroine, gorgeous modern beach house. Cinemaskype
Cameo by Micky Mouse Club's "Jimmy!" Cinemaskype
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