6.3/10
747
31 user 19 critic

Strange Illusion (1945)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 31 March 1945 (USA)
Paul, a young man whose father was once lieutenant Governor of California before his untimely death, has a strange, recurring dream in which his mother falls in love with a dangerous man (... See full summary »

Director:

Edgar G. Ulmer

Writers:

Adele Comandini (screenplay), Fritz Rotter (original story)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Jimmy Lydon ... Paul Cartwright (as James Lydon)
Warren William ... Brett Curtis
Sally Eilers ... Virginia Cartwright
Regis Toomey ... Dr. Vincent
Charles Arnt ... Professor Muhlbach
George Reed ... Benjamin (as George H. Reed)
Jayne Hazard ... Dorothy Cartwright
Jimmy Clark Jimmy Clark ... George Hanover
Mary McLeod Mary McLeod ... Lydia
Pierre Watkin ... District Attorney Wallace Armstrong
Sonia Sorel Sonia Sorel ... Charlotte Farber
Victor Potel ... Mac - Game Warden (as Vic Potel)
George Sherwood George Sherwood ... Langdon
Gene Roth ... Sparky (as Gene Stutenroth)
John Hamilton ... Bill Allen
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Storyline

Paul, a young man whose father was once lieutenant Governor of California before his untimely death, has a strange, recurring dream in which his mother falls in love with a dangerous man (Brett Curtis), a dream which also contains the image of his father's death in an automobile accident under mysterious circumstances. Through the help of his friend, a psychiatrist, Paul realizes that his dream is coming true, and that his mother is falling under Curtis's influence. Curtis, in fact, is a homicidal maniac who lives as an out-patient at the sanitarium of the unscrupulous Dr. Muhlbach. When Curtis makes an attempt to marry Paul's mother, Paul intervenes, and after a series of events discovers the truth behind his dreams. Written by Wheeler Winston Dixon

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 March 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

First Illusion See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film's earliest documented telecasts occurred Thursday 9 October 1947 both in New York City on the DuMont Television Network's WABD (Channel 5), and in Washington DC on WTTG (Channel 5); re-titled Out of the Night, it was first aired in Los Angeles Monday 13 March 1950 on KTTV (Channel 11). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Paul Cartwright: I'm Paul Cartwright, my father was Judge Albert Cartwright, once lieutenant governor of the state, he was killed two years ago in a mysterious accident. We were not only father and son, but friends. The shock of his violent death still haunts my mind, my nights are troubled by strange dreams.
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Connections

Referenced in Edgar G. Ulmer - The Man Off-screen (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
STRANGE ILLUSION (Edgar G. Ulmer, 1945) **1/2
28 September 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This one's basically a noir retelling of Shakespeare's "Hamlet", which actually anticipates Akira Kurosawa's obviously superior THE BAD SLEEP WELL (1960) by several years! I had expected the film to be a ramshackle effort in the vein of the same director's better-known noir, DETOUR (1945), but it looks fairly stylish overall – beginning with an astonishing dream sequence.

The central plot, though clearly altered to fit the conventions of modern-day small-town America, retains its essential fascination (with the sequences in the clinic achieving genuine suspense and the whole given a commendably fast pace) – thanks also to modest yet effective casting: Jimmy Lydon is the youngster suspicious of mother Sally Eilers' new boyfriend, the reptilian Warren William; also on hand is Regis Toomey as Lydon's psychology professor, who becomes his co-conspirator in unmasking William (the man responsible for the death of Lydon's father). Even if Eilers doesn't look to be that much older than her on-screen son, William decidedly comes across as a lecher – since he also has his eyes on Lydon's girlfriend and sister throughout the course of the film! Incidentally, the youthful element present here is rather surprising but this actually lends proceedings a welcome quirky charm.

Since the film has fallen into the Public Domain, there are several DVD editions of variable quality out there – the best value for money seem to be those emanating from the Roan Group and All Day Entertainment. As a matter of fact, I had long considered purchasing the latter for the accompanying documentary about Ulmer's tenure at Poverty Row studio PRC; thankfully, I was able to get to the film regardless via a recent late-night screening on Italian TV which I taped.

In conclusion, I liked STRANGE ILLUSION well enough for it to join THE BLACK CAT (1934), BLUEBEARD (1944), DETOUR (1945) and THE NAKED DAWN (1955) among Ulmer's more interesting and satisfying work.


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