6.1/10
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A Woman's Secret (1949)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery | 7 February 1949 (USA)
Failed singer Marian Washburn confesses she shot her friend, successful singer Susan Caldwell, but her manager Luke Jordan and Detective Fowler doubt her story and cannot establish a reasonable motive.

Director:

Nicholas Ray

Writers:

Herman J. Mankiewicz (screen play), Vicki Baum (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Maureen O'Hara ... Marian Washburn
Melvyn Douglas ... Luke Jordan
Gloria Grahame ... Susan Caldwell
Bill Williams ... Lee Crenshaw
Victor Jory ... Brook Matthews
Mary Philips ... Mary Fowler
Jay C. Flippen ... Jim Fowler
Robert Warwick ... Roberts
Curt Conway Curt Conway ... Doctor
Ann Shoemaker ... Mrs. Matthews
Virginia Farmer ... Mollie
Ellen Corby ... Nurse
Emory Parnell ... Desk Sergeant
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Storyline

Susan is in the hospital with a bullet near her heart. Marian has told the police that she shot Susan in a rage as Susan was giving up singing. Marian and Luke found Susan when she was a failure. A singer with a limited range, she was a diamond in the rough which Marian and Luke taught how to walk, dress and talk. With the singing lessons, Marian had hoped that she would have the career that Marian would have had if she had not lost her voice. Even though Susan is a scatterbrain girl, Luke does not believe that Marian would have been capable of shooting her. Luke hopes that Detective Fowler will be able to find out the truth and free Marian. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

I had to stop her ... at any cost ... that's why I pulled the trigger !


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

7 February 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mortgage on Life See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$853,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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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

Completed in early 1948, but not released until nearly a year later in 1949 during the tumultuous ownership of RKO by Howard Hughes. See more »

Goofs

Characters refer to the Luger as a revolver when it is actually a semi-automatic pistol. See more »

Quotes

Susan Caldwell: I think I'll take a little water first. It clears your throat you know.
[gulps water for twelve seconds]
Luke Jordan: All clear?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening and closing credits are displayed on a page of sheet music. See more »

Soundtracks

Estrellita
(uncredited)
Written by Manuel M. Ponce
Sung by Gloria Grahame (dubbed by Kaye Lorraine)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nicholas Ray directs Maureen O'Hara in interesting but flawed noir style mystery...
28 March 2008 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

A WOMAN'S SECRET is a melodramatic noir style mystery based on a Vicki Baum story, played in florid fashion by MAUREEN O'HARA, MELVYN DOUGLAS and GLORIA GRAHAME, all of whom are a bit over-the-top under Nichols Ray's direction.

O'Hara is the tough ex-singer promoter of the singing career of Grahame, and plays some of her argumentative moments as though she's Joan Crawford brandishing a gun in "Mildred Pierce". She gives the whole part a surface temperament of angry emotions that doesn't quite ring true, alternating with sweeter moments. She does get a chance to demonstrate her pleasant singing voice, unlike Grahame who is dubbed.

After confessing to shooting Grahame during a heated argument over Gloria's decision to quit her career, she tells her story in flashback. Her good friend, MELVYN DOUGLAS, also fills in some of her background with another flashback, a la "Mildred Pierce" and "Laura" techniques.

Douglas is a piano accompanist who refers to Grahame's singing voice as "a voice with hormones". He has some clever lines and plays the film's most believable character. BILL WILLIAMS shows up midway through the story as Grahame's friend (in a wasted role) who's anxious to see that O'Hara gets punishment for shooting Grahame. "I hope they hang her!"

Unfortunately, it's also at the midway point that the story starts to lose interest, as the mystery is slow to clear up and the story rambles on with still another flashback full of exposition by Douglas about past events.

A tighter script without all the flashbacks and a more direct way of telling the story might have made for improvements. As it is, it has a promising start but loses its way, stumbling in a strand of back stories long before any final explanation is given.


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