Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On Screen -- Strange Impersonation (1946)

Marshall and Brooke

"Strange Impersonation"  is a low budget film noir put out by Republic Pictures.  But don't let this fool you.  The film is an early directorial piece from Anthony Mann, better known for his later films "T-Men", "Raw Deal" (both 1948), and "Border Incident" (1949). 

The film is about a chemical research scientist, Nora Goodrich, who is experimenting with a new anesthetic.  Nora has rejected marriage proposals from her fiance/coworker Dr. Stephen Lindstrom.  This has made Nora's assistant Arline a little testy because she is actually in love with Stephen and is willing to do just about anything to get him for herself. 

I don't want to give away too much of the story, but from this point on we get a pretty good mix of attempted murder, extortion, murder, plastic surgery, identity theft, and revenge.  One thing I will say is that something happens in the beginning of the film that pretty much gives away the ending, so anyone who is familiar with noir films will probably catch it.  With a running time of only 68 minutes the story moves right along.
The film stars Brenda Marshall as "Nora", frequent noir femme fatale Hillary Brooke as "Arline", William Gargan as "Stephen", Ruth Ford as "Jane", and H.B. Warner as "Dr. Mansfield".  Also worth mentioning is actress Mary Treen who plays Nora's irritating and very talkative nurse who provides a little (very little) comic relief.  Overall a film worth watching at least once, especially for fans of Mr. Mann.

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