Thursday, January 26, 2012
NO MAN OF HER OWN
Based on Cornell Woolrich's novel "I Married a Dead Man" this stars Barbara Stanwyck as Helen Ferguson, who is pregnant and abandoned by her faithless lover Steve (Lyle Bettger). She meets a lovely young newlywed couple (Richard Denning and Phyllis Thaxter) on a train, but after a train crash finds herself a victim -- or lucky recipient -- of mistaken identity. Taken in by a family who thinks she's someone else, she wonders how long she can pull off the deception. She falls for Bill Harkness (John Lund) and then the scummy Steve shows up ... This is not the great suspense film it might have been had Hitchcock been at the helm, but it is quite entertaining and full of interesting twists courtesy of Woolrich. Stanwyck gives yet another terrific performance, and there is a solid supporting cast, including Jane Cowl as Bill's mother. Leisen doesn't do that much with the more tense sequences in the film and Lund is only adequate, but Stanwyck's performance puts this over if nothing else. The novel was adapted on other occasions, being the basis for a French version and the much lighter Mrs. Winterbourne with Ricki Lake. I believe there was also another American version under a different title.
Verdict: Another example of Stanwyck's superb thespian ability. ***.