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The Second Woman (1950)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery | 7 July 1950 (USA)
In flashback from a 'Rebecca'-style beginning: Ellen Foster, visiting her aunt on the California coast, meets neighbor Jeff Cohalan and his ultramodern clifftop house. Ellen is strongly ... See full summary »


James V. Kern

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Complete credited cast:
Robert Young ... Jeffrey Cohalan
Betsy Drake ... Ellen Foster
John Sutton ... Keith Ferris
Florence Bates ... Amelia Foster
Morris Carnovsky ... Dr. Hartley
Henry O'Neill ... Ben Sheppard
Jean Rogers ... Dodo Ferris
Raymond Largay Raymond Largay ... Major Badger
Shirley Ballard Shirley Ballard ... Vivian Sheppard
Vici Raaf ... Secretary
Jason Robards Sr. ... Stacy Rogers (as Jason Robards)
Steven Geray ... Balthazar Jones
Jimmie Dodd ... Mr. Nelson (as Jimmy Dodd)
Smoki Whitfield Smoki Whitfield ... Porter (scenes deleted)
Cliff Clark ... Police Sergeant


In flashback from a 'Rebecca'-style beginning: Ellen Foster, visiting her aunt on the California coast, meets neighbor Jeff Cohalan and his ultramodern clifftop house. Ellen is strongly attracted to Jeff, who's being plagued by unexplainable accidents, major and minor. Bad luck, persecution...or paranoia? Warned that Jeff could be dangerous, Ellen fears that he's in danger, as the menacing atmosphere darkens. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves... See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

7 July 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Here Lies Love See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Opening credits: The characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictional. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. See more »


In the opening scene, the [link=nm0001870) character is discovered suffocated by heavy carbon monoxide in a sealed garage, but nobody else coming in the garage is affected by the deadly gas. See more »


Jeff Cohalan: Let's see what the tea leaves say about you... there's a trick my grandmother taught me; she learned it from an old witch in Ireland.
Ellen Foster: And so you've been drinking coffee ever since.
See more »


References Rebecca (1940) See more »


Francesca da Rimini
Written by Peter Ilich Tchaikowsky
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Surprisingly Effective Noir Film - Though Under-Appreciated and Virtually Forgotten
1 December 2007 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

I am always pleasantly surprised when I come across old gems like The Second Woman and find them to be as good and entertaining as some of the feature films of the same period. The Second Woman stars a convincing Robert Young as an architect who has recently lost his wife in a highway accident. Young plays - on the surface perhaps - a tormented man who has lost connection with everything but his job. He broods at the house he built for his wife whilst gazing at an abstract picture of her and cares only for the company of his horse and dog until - that's right, until the second woman arrives in his life - Betsy Drake visiting her aunt down the road. well, to spin a long tale somewhat short, Young and Drake fall in love, Young loses almost everything he loves in life, and Drake must discover if Young and his recent misfortunes are the product of someone else's had or the result of Young's paranoia. The tension, plot twists, red herrings, and cast of characters are intriguing and most entertaining though the resolution and much of the exposition about an attempted suicide are really quite ludicrous. Director James V. Kern ably manages to inject enough realism to make the engine of this story work as the two key performers - Young and Drake - also lend it credibility. The end was out of nowhere but I didn't mind because I had such a good time getting there. Lots of film noir elements abound, and I loved the scenes of the modern house all by itself on the coast. Morris Charnovsky is very creepy as a doctor convinced Young is a paranoiac, Henry O' Neill does a good job as Young's boss, Florence Bates a nice touch as drake's aunt, and John Sutton plays a worm with the best of them.

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