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USA 1947
Directed by
Irving Pichel
95 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

They Won't Believe Me

There is much to enjoy here, both good (an engaging plot with sharp dialogue) and bad (dodgy back-projected exteriors and smoking in hospital beds) in this James Cain-ish story of a philandering husband, Larry Ballentine (Robert Young), whose taste for the ladies, first,  Janice (Jane Greer) then Verna (Susan Hayward) gets him into deep trouble. Although he married her for her money, his wife (Rita Johnson) loves him and wants to keep him. Larry runs off with Verna but she is killed in a car crash and when we meet him he’s in an L.A. court  on trial for murder and relating to the jury his story which we see in flashback.

Directed competently by journeyman actor turned journeyman director Irving Pichel for RKO who released the highly regarded noir, Out Of The Past with Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer. the same year, this film has noirish touches, but tends to go light on the darkness. The main pair, Larry and Verna, actually turn out to be pretty decent types, if you believe Larry,  although you have to set aside that Verna is initially a self-confessed gold-digger and Larry was, at least. planning to murder his wife (the coroner’s report that she was “battered beyond recognition” hardly tallies with what we see).  

Although the resolution may strike some as over-hasty and by today’s standards of courtroom secutity, hard to accept, the film is a solid effort all-round and being in colour the 40s costume and set designs will please retro style buffs.




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