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Strange Impersonation (1946)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 16 March 1946 (USA)
A research scientist conducting experiments on a new anesthetic finds herself being blackmailed by a woman she accidentally knocked down with her car; the woman wasn't hurt, but a scheming ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
... Nora Goodrich
... Dr. Stephen Lindstrom
... Arline Cole
... Jeremiah W. Rinse
Ruth Ford ... Jane Karaski #1
... Dr. Mansfield
... Inspector Malloy
... Talkative Nurse
... Miss Roper (as Cay Forrester)
Dick Scott ... Police Detective
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Storyline

A research scientist conducting experiments on a new anesthetic finds herself being blackmailed by a woman she accidentally knocked down with her car; the woman wasn't hurt, but a scheming attorney has convinced her she can get a lot of money for the "accident." Meanwhile, the scientist's research assistant, who is in love with her boss' boyfriend, arranges for an explosion in the laboratory that disfigures the scientist's face, in order to take the boyfriend away from her. The scientist has plastic surgery to make her look like the woman who tried to blackmail her--who while struggling with the scientist fell out of a window and was killed--and determines to get back her boyfriend and punish her scheming assistant. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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DEATH and a BATTLE of the SEXES! (original print ad) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

16 March 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Estranho Pesadelo  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Nora Goodrich: [after being groped passionately in her laboratory] Stephen, remember - science!
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User Reviews

 
Anthony Mann plays fast, loose with early noir conventions
2 March 2002 | by See all my reviews

Heralded noir director Anthony Mann made his name in legendary collaborations with cinematographer John Alton (T-Men, Raw Deal, Border Incident). But his work in the cycle started earlier when it was still coalescing -- before its essentials had become codified.

A 1945 Republic release (under an old, pre-eagle logo), Strange Impersonation comes in a compact package holding a lot of plot -- perhaps too much. Pharmaceutical chemist Brenda Marshall, anxious to test a new anesthetic she devised, goes home to do so. [On the way, however, she gets into an unpleasant traffic scrape involving a tipsy woman and an ambulance-chaser.] Finally ensconced in her luxurious penthouse, she injects herself and goes under, only to wake in hospital, suffering disfiguring burns from an explosion and fire among her bottles and beakers.

The next year proves to be no picnic. During her convalescence, her rich fiance (who owns the drug company) drops her like a hot brick. She accidentally murders the accident victim -- see above -- who has resurfaces with a gun and a blackmail scheme. On the lam, Marshall assumes a new identity and buys a swell new face through reconstructive surgery. Then she returns to her old firm with a notion of settling scores.

Cheeky, and with the courage of its conventions, Strange Impersonation draws us in by rapid and unexpected changes in its course. Marshall holds an especially strong hand as the brainy victim of outrageous fortune, and plays her cards well. But she's almost matched by Hillary Brooke as her duplicitous assistant/rival. William Gargan (later to become TV's first Martin Kane, Private Eye) remains no more than a plot point as the duped fiance.

Mann plays fast and loose with themes and gimmicks that were to become staple ingredients later in the noir cycle, as if trying them on for size. There are elements here that recall or prefigure movies such as The Woman in the Window, Dark Passage, A Stolen Face and No Man of Her Own, to name just a few. And if they're not worked out with the ruthlessness of vision that was to shape the finest film noir, no matter. Strange Impersonation is a swift, dark funhouse ride.


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