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The Locket (1946)

Not Rated | | 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.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Nancy
... Dr. Blair
... Norman Clyde
... John Willis
... Nancy (Age 10)
... Mr. Bonner
... Lord Wyndham
... Mrs. Willis
... Mr. Wendell
... Mrs. Bonner
Helene Thimig ... Mrs. Monks
... Mrs. Wendell
... Woman Singer
Lilian Fontaine ... Lady Wyndham
... 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 »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

20 December 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

What Nancy Wanted  »

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

Film debut of Martha Hyer. See more »

Goofs

American ambulances - shown driven with left hand drive - were not used in wartime London. See more »

Quotes

Nancy Monks Blair Patton: [with the locket Karen gave her] Thank you, God. I will never ask you for anything again.
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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Interesting Noir
11 April 2001 | by See 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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