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The Bigamist (1953)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 3 December 1953 (USA)
A man secretly married to two women feels the pressure of his deceit.


Ida Lupino


Lawrence B. Marcus (story) (as Larry Marcus), Lou Schor (story) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Joan Fontaine ... Eve Graham
Ida Lupino ... Phyllis Martin
Edmund Gwenn ... Mr. Jordan
Edmond O'Brien ... Harry Graham / Harrison Graham
Kenneth Tobey ... Tom Morgan, Defense Attorney
Jane Darwell ... Mrs. Connelley
Peggy Maley ... Phone Operator
Lilian Fontaine Lilian Fontaine ... Miss Higgins, Landlady (as Lillian Fontaine)
Matt Dennis Matt Dennis ... Mat Dennis
John Maxwell ... Judge


Harry and Eve Graham are trying to adopt a baby. The head of the agency senses Harry is keeping a secret and does some investigating. He soon discovers Harry has done an unusual amount of traveling from his home in San Francisco to Los Angeles. Harry gets tracked down in LA where he has a second wife and a baby. Via flashbacks, Harry tells the adoption agent how he ended up in two marriages. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Wanted by two women! See more »


Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


One of two films in which Lilian Fontaine appears in support of her daughter Joan (Fontaine). (The other was the 1947 release, "ivy".) See more »


The movie is about a couple in San Francisco with establishing shots at 1:13 (city landscape) and 1:22 (a city street with a characteristic steep hill). Mr Jordan (Edmund Gwenn) has to travel to LA to do a background check on Harry Graham (Edmond O'Brien). But when he arrives in LA to visit business offices there, the buildings are all on SF style steep streets (see 10:40 and 11:22.) They apparently used SF locations for LA locations, and to those who know both cities, it sticks out quite noticeably. Submitted by Jed Griswold. See more »


Harry Graham: I liked movies, though I really didn't care where Clark Gable lived.
See more »


References Miracle on 34th Street (1947) See more »


It Wasn't the Stars That Thrilled Me
Written by Matt Dennis and Dave Gillam
Performed by Matt Dennis
See more »

User Reviews

Avoids Being Sappy
14 July 2014 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

One of a handful of low budget films from pioneering woman film-maker Ida Lupino. Known mainly for her soulful screen portrayals in the 1940's of downtrodden women, she managed this career turn in the early 50's, a remarkable feat given a production industry so thoroughly dominated by men.

Her best known feature is the chilling and critically acclaimed account of serial killer Emmet Myers, called "The Hitchhiker". But all her films are marked by an earnest concern for the lives of ordinary people, whether menaced in extreme circumstance or in more ordinary circumstance by the unwed pregnancy of "The Outrage". Moreover, at a time when studios were fending off small screen television with big budget Technicolor, she gamely persisted with the small, the intimate and the unglamorous.

"The Bigamist" remains an oddity, very much an artifact of its time, but worth viewing for its sensitive handling of male loneliness, a topic for which macho Hollywood has never had much time. The acting is first-rate from a trio of de-glamorized Hollywood professionals, including the poignant Lupino; there's also Edmond O'Brien in a low-key, nuanced portrayal of a man trapped by emotions, showing once again what a fine, intelligent performer he was. Notice how elliptically the pregnancy is presented, and how subtly Fontaine's career woman is projected into the breakup. Both are very much signs of that time. Although the subject matter may have tempted, the results never descend into bathos or soap-opera, even if final courtroom scene appears stagy and anti-climatic. All in all, it's a very well wrought balancing act.

Lupino's reputation should not rest on gender. This film as well as so many of her others demonstrate what a versatile and unusual talent she was, whether in front of the camera or behind. Too bad, she never got the recognition from an industry to which she contributed so much.

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Release Date:

3 December 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Bigamist See more »


Box Office


$175,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

The Filmakers See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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