Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


STRANGE IMPERSONATION (1946). Director: Anthony Mann.

Nora Goodrich (Brenda Marshall) has developed a new anesthesia (although if it only lasts for an hour it can hardly be used in most operations), and wants to test it on herself. Unfortunately, she doesn't realize that her assistant Arline (Hillary Brooke) has much more sinister plans. Like something out of an EC horror story from the fifties, Nora is a good person whose life becomes embroiled in tragedy due to the nasty actions of another person. [Unfortunately, this film doesn't have a clever or exacting EC payoff; in fact the ending may make you groan.] Marshall, who was married to William Holden for thirty years, gives a good performance, as does Brooke in one of her most unsympathetic roles. William Gargan is fine in an unusual turn as a doctor who's in love with Nora, and Ruth Ford [Lady Gangster] is vivid as a drunk woman who walks into Nora's car and later becomes a nuisance and worse. Strange Impersonation has an interesting plot and some good twists, but it's distinctly minor and not well developed. Mary Treen appears as an overly cheerful nurse and Lyle Talbot is a homicide detective. Mann later directed The Furies with Barbara Stanwyck and many others. Marshall starred as Singapore Woman five years earlier.

Verdict: Fraught with possibilities but too cheap and minor-league. **.

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