Barry Sulivan is a cynical gangster who controls the Neptune Beach waterfront. He runs a numbers racket with the local soda shop owner: the police are in his pocket and the local hoods are on his payroll.
There is a scene where we see a framed photo of a man on a mantle. The photo is of director William Castle. Another scene features a man named "Mr. King" being paged; the producers of the film are both named King. See more »
Pre-noir, over the top, compact crime film that works!
When Strangers Marry (1944)
Also known as, "Betrayed."
A rather tight, odd, compelling film. It's a B-movie, for sure, straight from William Castle territory (known for his sensational low-budget films). But it has Robert Mitchum in a strong early role, and Dean Jagger as a compelling bad guy. And the leading woman, played by the rather plain looking Kim Hunter, is good, too.
There are a lot of small elements that make this click along. For one, it's edited with utter economy. Then there is the slightly offbeat settings, including near the end a wonderful club scene with simple stride jazz, all African American. That three minutes is almost worth it alone, low key and stripped of glamour. A touch of Harlem, via Hollywood.
The plot, which has some conventional qualities, is also really odd at times, and it takes a minute to buy the idea of the title. That is, a naive woman marries a salesman she barely knows, and she hasn't seen him in a month. But he shows up just when a murderer has been making headlines, escaping from justice. You automatically connect the two, and yet there are tiny doubts. Maybe we're being set up.
The drama here is part of the pleasure—mostly night stuff, strong angles, hard light. And of course a trusting woman who slowly realizes there might be true terror on her hands. There's nothing like worrying for an innocent. Mitchum plays the good guy here, and he's young but already has his familiar style in place, which I assume is basically the real man. And he worries, too.
Jagger is actually pretty terrific. He plays an odd, difficult sort, covering up his apparent past (we aren't sure), but also showing real concern for this young woman, who is so utterly innocent. We eventually, slowly, feel for his situation. The turn of events at the end of the plot are a bit too much too fast, unfortunately. It undermines a solid progression up to then. Even so, watch this if you like the era, and crime movies. Well enough done. And fast.
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