6.4/10
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39 user 6 critic

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 »

Director:

James V. Kern
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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Not since 'SPELLBOUND' a masterpiece of suspense like this! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 July 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Here Lies Love See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Flatiron building mentioned by Cohalan is a famous New York landmark. Designed by Daniel Burnham, it was built in 1902. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

References Rebecca (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

Francesca da Rimini
(uncredited)
Written by Peter Ilich Tchaikowsky
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Gothic elements enhance superior psychological thriller
28 January 2002 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

A better-than-average psychological thriller, The Second Woman blends aspects of Rebecca and Gaslight into a savvy, neo-Gothic style (there's even an ultramodern, Manderley-like pile of memories high above the crashing ocean; it, too, ends in conflagration).

Robert Young plays a young architect who can't wriggle out from under a jinx. The night before their wedding, a car crash claimed the life of his fiancée, for whom he'd built the cantilevered "house with wings." Now it's a mausoleum where he broods to the Tchaikovsky on the sound track. Lapses of memory and moody episodes undermine his work. His horse, his dog, even his prize rosebush die mysteriously. He's sinking, an object of pity and, increasingly, apprehension.

Into this slough of despond comes a guardian angel (Betsy Drake), an intelligent and independent insurance investigator who falls for him, as he for her. (She's something of an anomaly in film noir, where all the brains and spunk usually go to the wicked women.) She supplies Young with the resolve to solve the puzzle when he ceases to care.

There are weak points as well. The suicide attempt that opens the movie makes scant sense when it's later explained; the character set up as a villain emerges, at least partly, as a red herring; and the formidable Florence Bates disappears into a bland "also-starring" role. And constantly referring to past events in a low-key, almost abstract way lays poor preparation for the ending, where they prove central. Still, The Second Woman keeps you puzzled, and the Gothic trappings work their spell. Less film noir than mystery, it's nonetheless a good, old-fashioned one.


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