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A Woman's Secret (1949)

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
Victor Jory ... Brook Matthews
Mary Philips ... Mrs. Fowler
Jay C. Flippen ... 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

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 »
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

Nicholas Ray and Gloria Grahame met while shooting this film. They were married in Las Vegas shortly after completing the film. They chose Las Vegas because Ray loved to gamble and to allow Grahame to get a quickie divorce (after the required six weeks of residency in Nevada) from actor Stanley Clements. The day the divorced was granted, the two married. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Susan Caldwell aka Estrellita: 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

Paradise
(uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Gordon Clifford
Sung by Maureen O'Hara on the phonograph
Also sung by Gloria Grahame (dubbed by Kaye Lorraine)
See more »

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User Reviews

Lesser Ray
13 October 2011 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

No need to recap the plot, which I couldn't do anyway. In fact, just what the screenplay is aiming at may be the movie's biggest secret. Is it a mystery—well no, since early on the camera shows Marian (O'Hara) pulling the trigger. Is it a noir—hardly, since the atmosphere is pretty conventional. Is it a love story (a Ray specialty)—well maybe, except who loves whom is not always clear. Sure, a movie doesn't have to be pigeon-holed to be good. But the trouble here is that Secret is simply too muddled to fit anywhere, and that's despite a luminescent turn from the incomparable Gloria Grahame.

Director Ray was especially expert at getting triumphs from love story actresses—Cathy O'Donnell, Allene Roberts, Natalie Wood, et al. No wonder Grahame fell for him in real life. However, critics are right: Jory and Douglas are both a shade too old (circa, 50) for 20-something O'Hara and Grahame. Plus, pity poor Bill Williams whose one-note, unnecessary part suggests he wandered onto the wrong set. Then there's the ill- advised comedy relief from the cop's wife that erupts half-way through as if some studio higher-up suddenly intervened.

Hard to believe cult director Ray had anything to do with this muddle. Clearly, he only went through the motions, probably as a result of an unwanted studio assignment (RKO). Too bad. But, I doubt anyone could have salvaged such confused material.


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