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USA 1949
Directed by
Nicholas Ray
84 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Woman's Secret, A

This RKO B grade murder mystery with a script by producer Herman J. Mankiewicz based on a Vikki Baum novel about a failed singer (Maureen O'Hara) who falsely confesses to the murder of her protégé (Gloria Grahame) and the attempt of her boyfriend (Melvyn Douglas) to save her, was Ray's second picture and no harbinger of greatness.

Mankiewicz's script is over-full of what is supposed to be noir-ish "hard-boiled" dialogue that comes across as laboured and almost comedic, such as Jay C. Flippen's observation as Police Inspector Fowler that "a meal ticket don't have to be looked at as meal ticket to be a meal ticket" whilst the film itself gradually stumbles, via Paris and Algiers, towards full-blown comedy territory with a rather incongruous sub-plot involving Flippen's screen wife (Mary Philips) turning amatuer sleuth. The avuncular Douglas is both highly improbable and frankly tiresome as a tough guy and a romantic match for Maureen O'Hara who does little throughout but play the self-sacrificing heroine. Gloria Grahame, who married Ray shortly after completion of shooting, gives the film some lift with a Marilyn Monroe-ish girl-from-Little Rock performance but still it barely gets it off the ground.

FYI: Maureen O'Hara did her own vocals, including the version of the Nacio Herb Brown/Gordon Clifford song 'Paradise' heard on the phonograph but Gloria Grahame's vocals were dubbed by Kaye Lorraine.




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