6.4/10
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35 user 5 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 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:

As overpowering as "Wuthering Heights"... 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

Production Co:

Harry Popkin Productions See more »
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 final movie role for Jean Rogers. 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 »

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User Reviews

Noir Meets the Carmel Coastline
12 August 2010 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

What this b&w noir has going for it is the scenic grandeur of the central California coastline. The roiling sea and rocky outcrops, along with the ultra-modern (circa 1950) cliff house, provide an unusual backdrop to this psychological drama. Bad things keep happening to architect Jeff (Young) for no apparent reason, starting with the highway death of his wife. Enter Ellen (Drake) who seeks to uncover the mystery, though the finger of guilt begins to point at a grieving Jeff who may now be unhinged.

Both the script and the staging are excellent until the climax, which should have been reconsidered from both ends, especially the ludicrous gunshot that seemingly takes minutes to register. Drake's an appealing actress and projects intelligence in the part. At the same time, she's unusual for a decade that emphasized buxom sex-goddesses, which she definitely is not. She and Young do make a well-matched screen couple. However, Young's performance is rather strange. I don't know if he was reaching for a particular effect, but his low-key demeanor never changes despite the many provocations. Unfortunately, it borders on both the boring and the implausible.

Nonetheless, it's an intriguing mystery and a real treat for the eye thanks to cinematographer Hal Mohr. Also, I can't help noticing that Harry Popkin produced this film, along with the noir classic DOA (1950) and such imaginative B-movies as The Well (1951) and The Thief (1952). I expect it was he who insisted on the scenic locations for this film, proving that noir need not be confined to gritty urban settings. Anyway, I think it's fair to surmise that Popkin was a producer, unlike many, who understood the artistic side of movie-making. It shows here.


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