Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel


Directed by Jacques Tourneur. Screenplay by Warren Duff from a novel by Margaret Carpenter. Photography by Tony Gaudio. Sets by Darrel Silvera & Claude Carpenter. Music by Roy Webb. Produced by Warren Duff for RKO. Cast: Hedy Lamarr, George Brent, Paul Lukas, Albert Dekker, Carl Esmond, Olive Blakeney, George N. Neise, Margaret Wycherly, et al. 91 minutes.
A mix of thrills, psychology and pathology. In 1903, Doctor George Brent meets a friendly older lady in train. She tells him that she is going to visit her brother Lukas and his lovely young wife Lamarr. In New York Brent hears that his train companion suddenly died. He meets Lamarr-Lukas, gets suspicious of Lukas's treatment of his wife and his trying to pass her for crazy. A mixup in bags reveals the diary of the deceased lady, confirms Brent's doubts. He tries to save Lamarr, whom he now loves.

Semi-oddly, Lukas had married the young girl knowing she was not in love with him. Before this, he improbably took her to Europe to educate her and place her in social whirl. Now, in New York he becomes obsessed with jealousy for Lamarr and a young writer who is openly crazy about her, kills the young man and would do the same to Brent and Lamarr were it not for Brent's sleuthing.

Albert Dekker, as Brent's bohemian artist pal, and other supporting roles, are well played. The film is solidly directed by Jacques Tourneur who graduated from B movies (most of them much admired today) to A features with this picture.

The movie is nicely atmospheric, with fine, moody photography and production design, as well as a good "haunted place" music score It is none too convincing however. The execution is superior to the plot, which includes improbabilities and holes.

Paul Lukas, who played, sometimes with commendable reserve, sometimes with obvious dramatics, both heroes and sinister types, is over-villainous here. Hedy Lamarr, as gorgeous an actress as ever graced the silver screen, was never very talented, had very limited expressions. The casting of Lamarr with relatively inexpressive George Brent (who, however, was talented, likable and did well in his many roles) is peculiar. The result is that Lukas overplays, Lamarr underplays but Brent is just right. This neo-gothic drama reminds one of many movie melodramas, in particular "Gaslight", made in England in 1939 and remade in the U.S. in 1944. (Edwin Jahiel)

Copyright © Edwin Jahiel

Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel