29 August 2015 | dougdoepke
Plot-- After restorative surgery, a disfigured research scientist tries to regain her former status under an assumed identity. And that's despite a scheming rival, an unethical lawyer, and a blackmailing vixen.
About two-thirds of the way through and I was boggling at the implausibles. Okay, I'm usually pretty indulgent about these things; after all, Hollywood itself is pretty implausible. But then came the ending and all the stretches suddenly made weird sense. Not that this is a good film. It's just a programmer from cowboy-oriented Republic that RKO's noir unit might have made memorable. Then too, I agree with reviewer robert temple: why would two attractive women connive over a lump like William Gargan's Dr. Lindstrom. If there was a subtle point being made, I guess I missed it. Instead, it looks like a glaring piece of miscasting.
What the 60-minutes does have is a fine central performance from Brenda Marshall as the afflicted Nora. But most of all, it's a chance for the Hillary Brooke fan club to watch a favorite spider women do her thing. Catch the way her eyes suddenly reveal a hidden inner demeanor. That subtle inner dimension is crucial here, but as the expert actress knows, not to be overdone. Yet, why is she missing from that final scene. Her presence there would seem required in order to complete the circuit with the pivotal earlier scene. But since when did Golden Age Hollywood compromise their blissful fade-outs, regardless of logic.
Anyway, I expect a few years later with a more seasoned Anthony Mann and a more appropriate studio, the idea could have achieved genuine noir status.