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The Bigamist (1953)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 3 December 1953 (USA)
Harry and Eve Graham are trying to adopt a baby. The head of the agency senses Harry is keeping a secret and does some investigating. He soon discovers Harry has done an unusual amount of ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(story) (as Larry Marcus), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Eve Graham
...
Phyllis Martin
...
Mr. Jordan
...
Harry Graham / Harrison Graham
...
Tom Morgan, Defense Attorney
...
Mrs. Connelley
Peggy Maley ...
Phone Operator
Lilian Fontaine ...
Miss Higgins, Landlady (as Lillian Fontaine)
Matt Dennis ...
Mat Dennis
John Maxwell ...
Judge
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Storyline

Harry and Eve Graham are trying to adopt a baby. The head of the agency senses Harry is keeping a secret and does some investigating. He soon discovers Harry has done an unusual amount of traveling from his home in San Francisco to Los Angeles. Harry gets tracked down in LA where he has a second wife and a baby. Via flashbacks, Harry tells the adoption agent how he ended up in two marriages. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Wanted by two women!

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 December 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Mann mit den zwei Frauen  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Jordan: I can't figure out my feelings towards you, I despise you, and I pity you. I don't even want to shake your hand, and yet I almost wish you luck.
See more »

Connections

References Harvey (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

It Wasn't the Stars That Thrilled Me
Written by Matt Dennis and Dave Gillam
Performed by Matt Dennis
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User Reviews

 
Lupino-directed not-quite-weeper betrays archaic attitudes
26 May 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

Selling deep-freezes has been very good for west coast salesman Edmond O'Brien. He maintains a posh apartment in San Francisco and a bungalow in Los Angeles, both equipped with all the appurtenances of post-war prosperity, including a wife in each. In the city by the bay, Joan Fontaine serves as his helpmate not only at home but at work, where she serves as his executive secretary. But those long trips south can get lonely, and one afternoon, killing time on a tour bus, he flirts with Ida Lupino. Next thing, she's pregnant and married to him, too.

He might have gotten away with living his bigamous life but for the fact that he and the barren Fontaine decide to adopt a child. Enter Edmund Gwenn, an investigator for the adoption agency. No flies on Gwenn: He delves into O'Brien's background as if he were vetting him for Secretary of Defense. Caught in his two acts, O'Brien divulges his sad saga, in flashback, to the fascinated Gwenn.

Directed by Lupino, The Bigamist looks like it's going to turn into a weeper but doesn't quite make it. For one thing, odd touches crop up. The San Francisco high-rise is decorated in chic Chinoiserie, while in Los Angeles, Lupino slings chop suey in a dump called the Canton Café. Then, on the tour of Beverly Hills mansions, the driver points out the homes of movie stars; among them is Edmund Gwenn's. Meant as a light in-joke, it ends up as a distancing ploy when O'Brien and Lupino start chatting about Miracle on 34th Street.

But, closer to the bone, The Bigamist treats O'Brien with lavish sympathy. To be sure, there are the ritualistic mentions of `the moral laws we all live by' and the like, but on the whole he's portrayed as a victim of circumstance. For every victim, however, there's usually a villain. In this case, the finger wags at Fontaine, who can't bear a child and who takes her husband's work more seriously than she takes his ego.

Much is made, justifiably, of Lupino's bucking the male-dominated system by daring to direct movies. Yet The Bigamist demonstrates how hard it must have been to buck the social outlook of America in the early Eisenhower era.

Gossipy note: Writer/producer of The Bigamist was Collier Young, Lupino's second husband. They divorced in 1951, two years before they collaborated on this movie. She went on to marry Howard Duff; he to wed none other than Joan Fontaine. It must have made for an interesting production.


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