Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Second Woman (1950).

The Second Woman (1950). Film noir, directed by James V. Kern. Cast: Robert Young, Betsy Drake, John Sutton and Florence Bates.

The story begins when Major Badger, stops by one Sunday to warn Amelia Foster and her niece Ellen, that Jeff Cohalan, is a dangerous criminal. They find him unconscious in the garage, with the car engine running. Ellen remembers their first meeting: On a train to Pine Cliff, where Jeff meets Dr. Hartley, who is concerned about Jeff's problems with depression. In the dining car, he meets Ellen, who is going to visit her aunt, who lives next door to Jeff.

Later, at Ben Sheppard's office, where Jeff works there as an architect, another employee Keith Ferris, notices his forget fullness. Ellen meets with Jeff, on the beach and asks him to show her the house "Hilltop". Later, Ellen finds out that Jeff built the house for his fiancee, Vivian Sheppard, who was killed in a car accident, the night before their wedding. Ellen, finds herself attracted to Jeff, who's being haunted by explainable, harassment...or is it.. paranoia?

This is a better-than-average psychological thriller, where Robert Young gives a wonderful performance. The Second Woman, is a cross between the films, Rebecca, Gaslight and Fountainhead, one of those movies you like to watch in the middle of a stormy night...

Florence Bates (April 15, 1888 – January 31, 1954) was a character actress who often played grande dame characters in her films.

Bates showed musical talent as a child, but a hand injury stopped her from continuing her piano studies. She graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Mathematics in 1906, after which she taught school.

In 1909 she met and married her first husband and gave up her career to raise their daughter. When her marriage ended in divorce, she began to study law and passed the bar in 1914, becoming at the age of 26 the first female attorney in her home state.

After the death of her parents, Bates left the legal profession to help her sister manage their father's antique business. She became a bilingual radio commentator whose program was designed to foster good relations between the United States and Mexico.

 In 1929, she closed the antique shop and married wealthy oil baron William F. Jacoby. When he lost his fortune, the couple moved to Los Angeles and opened a bakery.

In the mid-1930's, Bates performed in Jane Austen's, Emma. When she decided to continue working with the theater group, she changed her professional name to that of the first character she played on stage.

 In 1939 she was introduced to Alfred Hitchcock, who cast her in her first major screen role, Mrs. Van Hopper, in the film, Rebecca.

Bates performed in more than sixty films over the next thirteen years. Among her credits are: Kitty Foyle, The Moon and Sixpence, Mr. Lucky, Heaven Can Wait, Mister Big, Since You Went Away, Kismet, Saratoga Trunk, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Winter Meeting, I Remember Mama, Portrait of Jennie, A Letter to Three Wives, On the Town, and Les Misérables.

Bates had a regular role on The Hank McCune Show and made guest appearances on I Love Lucy, My Little Margie, and Our Miss Brooks.

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