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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 <email@example.com>
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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