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The Locket (1946)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 20 December 1946 (USA)
Just before a wedding, the bridegroom hears a complex tale painting his lovely bride as devilish and unbalanced.

Director:

John Brahm

Writer:

Sheridan Gibney
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Laraine Day ... Nancy
Brian Aherne ... Dr. Blair
Robert Mitchum ... Norman Clyde
Gene Raymond ... John Willis
Sharyn Moffett ... Nancy - Age 10
Ricardo Cortez ... Mr. Bonner
Henry Stephenson ... Lord Wyndham
Katherine Emery ... Mrs. Willis
Reginald Denny ... Mr. Wendell
Fay Helm ... Mrs. Bonner
Helene Thimig ... Mrs. Monks
Nella Walker ... Mrs. Wendell
Queenie Leonard ... Woman Singer
Lilian Fontaine Lilian Fontaine ... Lady Wyndham
Myrna Dell ... Thelma
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Storyline

Lovely Nancy seems like the ideal bride to fiancée John Willis... until, just before the ceremony, Willis is approached by Harry Blair, claiming to be Nancy's former husband. The tale Blair unfolds (in a flashback within a flashback within a flashback!) paints Nancy as a kleptomaniac, habitual liar, and perhaps worse. But is Blair telling the truth? And does fate have another surprise in store? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Her Mysterious Secret Wrecked 3 Men's Lives! Not love, not money...but a haunting hunger drove her to lie, cheat, steal. Why? IT'S THE STRANGEST SECRET EVER TOLD! (original poster) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 December 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What Nancy Wanted See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

RKO borrowed Laraine Day from Paramount for this film. See more »

Goofs

When Norman is looking for Nancy at the party and meets up with her on the second floor, the maid at the end of the hall opens the closet door twice. See more »

Quotes

Norman Clyde: I don't take money for nothing. I'm not conducting a class so the parasitic rich can escape boredom. I'm not that hard up.
Nancy: Well, I hope you never will be, Mr. Clyde. I admire your principles. I wish I could say the same for your disposition.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Fatale beauté (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Hands, Knees and Boomps-a-Daisy
(uncredited)
Written by Annette Mills
Performed by Queenie Leonard
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Interesting Noir
11 April 2001 | by FilmFlaneurSee all my reviews

Brahm's intricately constructed film is based on the obvious conceit of a locket: in psychoanalytical terms, it symbolises repressed memory and of the 'opening up' of hidden psychosis. In a filmic sense of course, The Locket itself is a cinematic 'locket', the flashbacks within flashback structure reflecting the secret enclosure typical of such a piece of jewellery.

In fact I can't think of another film that takes this much commented narrative technique to such extremes. Mitchum of course was well used to playing heros faced with abnormal feminine psychology. He faces similar femme fatales in Preminger's 'Angel Face' for instance and in Farrow's 'Where Danger Lives' - all made at around the same time (end 40's, start of 50's). This may reflect something of the obsession that Hollywood had with cod Freudianism just as much as noir convention, but there is no doubting that Mitchum's peculiar manner as an actor, his doe-eyed sleep-walking acting style, made his starring excursions into the dangers of the subconscious peculiarly effective.

Brahm, one of Hollywoods most neglected directors at least for the work that he did at this time in his career, makes the somewhat over- stretched structure of the film work, pun intended, like a dream. Nancy's final walk to the altar, immediately before her mental and psychic collapse, although necessarily melodramatic, is very effective version of a personal calvary and she seems stunned and trance like. In retrospect, of course, it is easy to see how the whole of the preceding film has been leading up to this sequence, (just as how the flashback structure of the film reminds one in passing of 'Citizen Kane') but the sound and vision montage is still powerful.

By setting the bulk of the film in flashback, Brahm places it in the past - or, more precisely, in the imaginatively reconstructed past, and it is this dream-sense that retains a powerful grip on the viewer as events unfold. This almost hallucinatory sense, together with a feeling of 'drifting with fate', marks out some of the greatest noirs and B-mysteries made at this time and is what makes this film still very watchable today.

A 'Locket' well worth looking into.


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