The Second Woman [DVD] [1951]

James V. Kern's psychological thriller The Second Woman, starring Robert Young and Betsy Drake, comes to DVD from Alpha Video in a decent looking edition. Made from a 16mm print that is cleaner in its early reels than its later ones, the image is marred only by occasional missing frames (especially at 19 minutes into the movie), a few rough spots in the dissolves between scenes, and some vertical black lines in the center and on the right-hand side of the image. There's also very slightly muted audio -- that could be a serious drawback when one considers the complexity of the dialogue and the fact that the movie's score is a very deliberate amalgam of Tchaikovsky melodies; on the other hand, what is here is clean and the volume is set at a fairly high level that pumps up well through speakers. The movie itself is an unsual psychological suspense vehicle, owing as much to such pre-World War II thrillers as Gaslight as it does to Hollywood film noir, and features a first-rate cast that includes acting legend (and blacklistee) Morris Carnovsky. The usual six chapters in an Alpha release are present, not really adequate for a 91 minute movie, but given that this is a budget priced release, it's also difficult to complain too loudly.
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The Second Woman
In the vein of Spellbound and Rebecca comes this 1951 film noir from director James V. Kern. Robert Young stars as Jeff Cohalan, a successful architect who is tormented by the fact that his fiancée was killed in a mysterious car accident on the night before their wedding. Blaming himself for her death, Colahan spends his time alone, lamenting in the cliff-top home he'd designed for his bride-to-be. To make matters worse, ever since the accident, Colahan seems to be followed by bad luck. His horse and dog turn up dead without explanation, leading him to wonder if he has been cursed. Enter Ellen Foster (Betsy Drake), an independent and intelligent insurance investigator who just might be able to help Colahan figure out who or what's behind all of his misfortune. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Robert Young
    Robert Young - Jeff Cohalan
  • Betsy Drake
    Betsy Drake - Ellen Foster
  • Florence Bates
    Florence Bates - Amelia Foster
  • Morris Carnovsky
    Morris Carnovsky - Dr. Hartley
  • Henry O'Neill
    Henry O'Neill - Ben Sheppard
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