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Lightning Strikes Twice (1951)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 25 June 1951 (Sweden)
Sent to a dude ranch in the west to recover her health, a New York actress falls in love with a ranch owner recently acquitted of the murder of his wife.

Director:

King Vidor

Writers:

Lenore J. Coffee (screenplay) (as Lenore Coffee), Margaret Echard (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ruth Roman ... Shelley Carnes
Richard Todd ... Richard Trevelyan
Mercedes McCambridge ... Liza McStringer
Zachary Scott ... Harvey Fortescue Turner
Frank Conroy ... J.D. Nolan
Kathryn Givney ... Myra Nolan
Rhys Williams ... Father Paul
Darryl Hickman ... String
Nacho Galindo ... Pedro
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Storyline

Actress Shelley Carnes (Ruth Roman), is looking forward to an exciting vacation at a dude ranch, but she gets more than she bargained for, including a perhaps murderous new husband. Only by sheer luck has Richard Trevelyan (Richard Todd), her new husband, escaped execution for murdering his first wife Loraine. In a second trial, a single juror held out, causing him to be released. A local priest, Father Paul (Rhys Williams), and other eyewitnesses paint a deadly picture to the future bride but the actual murder was not witnessed and somehow, unbelievably, love wins out. Because of local expectation, Shelley ends up at a competing dude ranch run by J.D. (Frank Conroy) and Myra Nolan (Kathryn Givney). The picture of Richard over their fireplace suggests a close relationship. They loan Shelley their car and direct her to go to Trevelyan's ranch. En route, she meets Trevelyan on horseback, a handsome, but damaged, and mysterious young man. Upon arrival at the ranch she finds out the dude ... Written by Edward Kimble

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

RUTH ROMAN IS ALL WOMAN IN...(original poster-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 June 1951 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Branded Woman See more »

Filming Locations:

Paso Robles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,108,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$785,000, 31 December 1951

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,144,000, 31 December 1951
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. 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?

Goofs

In the car crash scene, from inside the car the fence is on the left and it's a single rail. However in the exterior shot of the crash, the car is going the opposite direction with the fence on the car's right, and it's double-railed. Also, during the nighttime crash scene, the oncoming car is on a straight stretch of highway. But in the daytime shot of the crash scene, the site is on a blind curve through a cut in a hill. See more »

Quotes

Richard Trevelyan: You can sleep in the den. There's a lock on the door.
Shelley Carnes: Do I need it?
Richard Trevelyan: I want you to feel that you're safe.
Shelley Carnes: From what?
Richard Trevelyan: From your thoughts.
See more »

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User Reviews

Richard Todd's blazing eyes, all two of them
24 August 2011 | by robert-temple-1See all my reviews

This is a superb King Vidor film noir, made only two years after his ultimate masterpiece, THE FOUNTAINHEAD (1949). Unless one considers the sultry RUBY GENTRY (1952) a film noir of sorts, Vidor was not really a noir director. But this film shows that when he needed to become one, he could do it in the twinkling of a lens. The female lead in this film was that very fifties woman, Ruth Roman, who appeared in film after film in those days. Seeing her now, she is so much 'then' as a type, that one cannot imagine her in a contemporary setting at all. All of her mannerisms and assumptions positively reek of the Eisenhower Era. The mesmerising performance of Richard Todd is what really makes this film work. His eyes blaze with ambivalent intensity, like two searchlights, as he stares at Ruth Roman and we and she try to guess is he a good guy or a bad guy. Whatever he is, he feels it deeply. Zachary Scott, in sinister lecherous mode, is Todd's friend, or at least Todd thinks he is. Scott keeps 'lech-ing' round Ruth Roman, can't keep his eyes off her, and that goes for his hands too. She's having none of it, because she's a straight fifties gal. The film has a strong, tormented performance from Mercedes McCambridge, in only her fifth role. She had commenced her film career in the hit ALL THE KING'S MEN (1949) only two years earlier, and five years after this she was to play perhaps her best known role of all in GIANT (1956) with James Dean. She was generally considered one of the finest actresses of her generation, which is hardly surprising, since she was originally one of Orson Welles's Mercury Theatre team, and most of them were brilliant. Mercedes was her second name, but she used it as her first, and was called 'Mercy'. In this film, Rhys Williams plays a priest named Father Paul, who is sickly and sanctimonious and likes to call grown-ups condescendingly 'my child'. (Don't over-pious, patronising priests like that make you sick, especially when they have pet Hispanics hanging around to prove how broad-minded they are?) This film is set way out West somewhere, where the desert is threatening. But so are some of the people! This murder mystery is a twister, and it wriggles like a rattler.


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