From The Vault-My Name is Julia Ross (1945)

MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (1945)

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“I don’t know what this is all about, but I promise you some very serious trouble unless you stop it immediately. You know perfectly well I’m Julia Ross.”

Directed by Joseph H. Lewis  (The Mad Doctor of Market Street 1942, So Dark the Night 1946, Gun Crazy 1950, A Lady without Passport 1950, The Big Combo 1955) Screenplay by Muriel Roy Bolton from the novel The Woman in Red by Anthony Gilbert. With a fabulous odd angled, shadow stricken spin by cinematographer Burnett Guffey it’s no wonder this suspense thriller has the elements of a stylized psychological noir.  

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Nina Foch is Julia Ross a young English girl seeking employment. She answers an ad at a fake employment agency run by none other than Anita Sharp -Bolster as Sparkes who’s even more cantankerous in this role. Julia, saddened by the news that the guy she loves is marrying another girl, thinks she’s found the perfect job working for a wealthy widow Mrs. Hughes (Dame May Witty) who’s son, the creepy Ralph lives with her.

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George Macready is exceptional as a psychotic who is prone to fits of violence. He has already killed his wife, stabbing her to death and throwing her body into the quiet sea.

Ralph Hughes– {Looking out at the ocean] “Beautiful, isn’t it? Would you like to listen to the sea and hear what it says? It doesn’t say anything, does it? That’s what I like about the sea. It never tells its secrets, and it has many – very many secrets.”

Ralph has a thing for knives, and mommy Hughes has to keep taking sharp objects away from him and locking them away in a drawer. Dame May Witty is superb as his overprotective mother who is willing to concoct an elaborate scheme and even kill in order to cover up her son’s murder.

Ralph Hughes- “It’s all Marion’s fault. She shouldn’t have cried.”

Mrs Hughes- “Ralph, you never told me – was it an accident, or did you intend to kill her after she made her will?”

Ralph- “I didn’t plan it. I liked her well enough, but when she found out I’d been lying about my income, she accused me of marrying her for her money. I said of course that was what I’d married her for. Then she cried. She was always crying. Then she slapped me. I had my knife in my hand, and I…” [He begins slashing at the sofa cushion with his knife, slicing it over and over]

Mrs. Hughes- “Stop it, stop it!” (she tries to take the knife away)

Ralph- “Don’t do that!”

Mrs. Hughes- “Put that away! Ralph, I’m trying to help you.”

Ralph- “I still say we should have called the police and told them a prowler broke in and killed her.”

Mrs. Hughes- “With the marks of your fingers on her? The scratches on your face?”

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Julia goes to live at the house, but once she’s there, Mrs. Hughes, Ralph, and Sparkes drug her tea and spirit her off to the ocean village of Cornwall.

They’ve burned her clothes, stopped any means of communication from getting through, put bars on her windows and convinced the village that she’s out of her mind, so no one believes her story about being Julia Ross being held prisoner by these seemingly well bred murderous grifters.

There they gaslight Julia, telling her that she is the first Mrs Marion Hughes who has had a nervous breakdown. They’ve even convinced Alice the maid (Queenie Leonard) that she’s going mad, and that she’s suicidal. Alice gossips around town and soon after everyone even the police, the doctors and the reverend and his wife believe the Hughes’ story. It seems like there’s no escape for Julia in sight. Along the path to doom, Ralph torments Julia with his menacing presence, and every attempt Julia makes to escape is thwarted. .

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They plan on making it look like she’s committed suicide so they can bury her as Mrs, Hughes, since the real wife is lost at sea. And take her money

After it looks like Julia has taken an overdose of poison…

Ralph –“Why try to save her? Let her die. That’s what we want.”

Mrs. Hughes- “Don’t be stupid, Ralph. If she’s taken poison, we must act as though we cared!”

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noir angle

This is a very taut little suspense yarn that keeps you on the edge up until the end. With some extraordinary camera work and a very simple tale of murder, mistaken identity and mayhem!

Co-starring Ottola Nesmith as Mrs. Robinson, Joy Harrington as the resentfully sullen Bertha, Doris Lloyd is marvelous as Mrs. Mackie, Julia’s landlady, Roland Varno as Julia’s love interest Dennis Bruce, Olaf Hytten as Reverend Lewis and Leonard Mudie as Peters.

There are thousands of films in my collection, this has been one of them!-MonsterGirl

10 More Neglected Characters of Classic Film

REAR WINDOW (1954) Thelma Ritter as Stella

Thelma and Jimmy Read Window
Thelma Ritter is always a joy to watch as well as listen to- as no one can quite deliver swifter dead pan humor like this lady-“We’ve become a race of peeping toms” from Alfred Hitchcock’s Read Window 1954

CRY OF THE CITY (1948)-Walter Baldwin as Orvy

Orvy in Cry of the City
Walter Baldwin is the lovable Orvy who might move a little slow in jail but brightens up the place in Robert Siodmak’s darkly powerful Cry of the City starring Richard Conte

THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957) Barbara Nichols as Rita the cigarette girl

Barbara Nicols in The Sweet Smell of Success
Barbara Nichols getting pigeon holed all her career as the lovable blonde bombshell bimbo is just deliciously sympathetic  in the hostile & darkly satirical noir masterpiece The Sweet Smell of Success 1957

THE SWIMMER (1968) Janice Rule  as Shirley Abbott

Janice Rule and Burt Lancaster in Frank Perry's The Swimmer
Janice Rule gives one hell of a performance as the actress/ex-lover in Frank Perry’s transcendental The Swimmer ’68 starring Burt Lancaster. 

SHIP OF FOOLS (1965)- Michael Dunn as Glocken

Ship of Fools
Michael Dunn adds yet another layer of insight & fine character acting in the intensely dramatic social commentary Ship of Fools directed by Stanley Kramer

CAGED (1950)-Betty Garde as Kitty Stark

Betty Garde in Caged
Betty Garde is truly an unsung character actor- here she gives a very compelling performance as Kitty Stark a woman who’s gotten used to life without men in John Cromwell’s prison noir sensation- Caged (1950)

THE TWO MRS CARROLLS  (1947) Anita Sharp-BolsterChristine the maid

maid christine The Two Mrs Carrolls
Anita Sharp-Bolster nearly steals the show in the dark suspense thriller The Two Mrs. Carrolls starring Barbara Stanwyck and Humphrey Bogart as a deranged painter. Christina the maid adds much comic relief with her acerbic puss!

SOMEWHERE IN THE NIGHT (1946)- Fritz Kortner as Anzelmo – Dr. Oracle

Franz Kortner Somewhere in the Night
Franz Kortner’s Anzelmo also known as Dr. Oracle is a mysterious and conniving villain who tries to run circles around poor John Hodiak who has lost his memory in Joseph L. Mankiewicz Somewhere in the Night 1946

THEY LIVE BY NIGHT  (1948)Jay C Flippen as T-Dub

Jay C Flippen in Nick Ray's They Live By Night
Jay C. Flippen always seems to be the guy whose got a mug only a mother could love. And in Nicholas Ray’s masterpiece They Live By Night his T-Dub is a pretty intimidating fellow!

ELMER GANTRY (1960)Arthur Kennedy as Reporter Jim Lefferts

Arthur Kennedy in Elmer Gantry
Arthur Kennedy lends his depth of acting to this powerful drama by Upton Sinclair co-starring Jean Simmons and Burt Lancaster as Elmer Gantry. Report Jim Lefferts is the clear voice that cuts through the malarkey as the moral compass

This has been a little bit of love to these fabulous character actors who make the cinematic world go round!-Your Ever Lovin’ MonsterGirl