Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lightning Strikes Twice (1951).

Lightning Strikes Twice(1951). Director: King Vidor. Cast: Richard Todd, Ruth Roman, Mercedes McCambridge, Zachary Scott.

After Richard Trevelyan, who was convicted for killing his wife, wins an acquittal during a re-trial after one woman on the jury can not find him guilty.

Actress Shelley Carnes, who is traveling by bus to the Tumble Moon Dude Ranch when she hears about Trevelyan's crime from the other passengers, who believe that Richard Trevelyan bought his acquittal.

Shelley, spends the night in a hotel owned by J. D. and Myra Nolan. After, learning about Shelley's plans to rent a car to take her to the neighboring Tumble Moon, Myra offers to let her use her car.

During a huge storm, Shelley loses her way and when her car gets stuck in the mud she walks to the closest house, where she finds Trevelyan.

After.. telling her who he is, he tells her that she can stay the night, even though he is suspicious of her when she mentions Myra and asks her not to mention that she saw ever him.

When she arrives at the dude ranch, she surprises Liza McStringer and her younger brother "String," and they tell her that the ranch closed, while acting very strange. They offer to feed her and while playing chess, Shelley becomes fast friends with String, who seems to be suffering from some kind of emotional problem. Liza, then asks her to stay and shares with her she was the juror who could not find him guilty and now the town treats them like "lepers."

Father Paul, whose testimony helped convict Trevelyan, comes to visit and Shelley asks him what he knows.

He shares with her that when he dropped by to visit Trevelyans', he found Loraine dead and then saw Trevelyan, in a field burying something. Trevelyan, says that he had been taking care of a sick horse, even though the towel he buried had his wife's blood on it.

She goes looking for him on horseback and after finding him, she offers to help him catch the real killer. He really does not want her not to get involved with his problems and insists that she leave.

At the ranch, Liza tells her that she has been good for String, who has been troubled by her death. Liza, then tells her that Loraine had an affair with J. D. before she married Trevelyan.

When Shelley returns the car to Myra, she asks about Trevelyan, who was like a son to them and who they believe is hiding back at the ranch. While there, she meets Harvey Turner, who describes Loraine a vicious woman.

Harvey tries to make a play for Shelley, but she is not interested. Angry, he takes her for a drive and makes threats towards her. When they arrive at his house, she runs from him, and bumps into Trevelyan, who explains that he asked Harvey to bring her there to say goodbye.

Trevelyan, tells her that he has a new engineering job, for which he will soon be leaving. They decided to secretly marry and after returning home, a jealous Liza shows up, claiming that she was there on the night of the murder, but that she had Trevelyan acquitted because Loraine deserved to die. After Liza leaves, Shelley, admits to Trevelyan that she is scared and runs away.

Liza tells String that, on the night of the murder, she found Harvey and Loraine in bed together and after Harvey left, Loraine, laughed at her for loving Trevelyan, so Liza killed her. String decides that they must leave, but Shelley shows up begging Liza to tell her if Trevelyan murdered Loraine. Will Harvey and Trevelyan, show up in time to stop Liza from killing Shelley, now that she knows the truth?

A very entertaining film noir with wonderful performances by Ruth Roman and Mercedes McCambridge. The film takes place in the desert of what looks like California.

Please click here for Patti's Lighting Strikes Twice review.

Carlotta Mercedes McCambridge (March 16, 1916 – March 2, 2004). Her Hollywood break came when she was cast in the film, All the King's Men(1949). McCambridge won the 1949 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film, which won Best Picture for that year. McCambridge also won the Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress and New Star of the Year - Actress for her performance.

In 1954, the actress co-starred in the western/drama, Johnny Guitar. McCambridge played the supporting role of "Luz" in Giant(1956). In 1959, McCambridge performed in the film, Suddenly, Last Summer.

McCambridge was well-known for providing the dubbed-in voice of the possessed character in The Exorcist. McCambridge was promised a screen credit, but she discovered at the premiere that her name was not listed in the credits. Her dispute with director William Friedkin and the Warner Bros. ended with the help of the Screen Actors Guild, she was properly credited for her vocal work in the film.


  1. Dawn, I've never seen this. McCambridge had a strange career in Hollywood. She did many really good films, but most people don't recognize her name.

  2. Shh. I'll share a secret. I go goo-goo for Richard Todd.

  3. I watched this film for the first time a few months ago. (Reviewed it on my blog as well.) I agree, it was a very interesting noir. I like that it kept you guessing for most of the film...did he or didn't he do it?

    It's wonderful to have you back in blogland!!!

  4. Kim, the first McCambridge, film I saw was, Johnny Guitar. She was a meanie.

    Caftan Woman, I agree.. he is easy on the eyes. Off the top of my head.. I do not remember what other movies he has done..

    Patti, Thank you. Awesome!! I will link your review with mine..


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