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USA 1946
Directed by
John Brahm
86 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

The Locket

German émigré director, John Brahm, who had helmed the similarly gloomy stories of mental derangement, The Lodger  in 1944 and Hangover Square in 1945, does a solid job of presenting this story of a beautiful but mentally-disturbed woman (Laraine Day, who, as long as one accepts the psychology is very effective in the part).

A solid B grade studio movie, it has as its principal armature a flashback within a flashback within a flashback structure that nicely assembles the series of events that leads up to the film’s opening and closing scene, the wedding of said woman to a wealthy society blade (Gene Raymond). A stiff Brian Aherne as Nancy’s psychiatrist former husband and an improbably cast Robert Mitchum as a “modern” artist play the victims of Nancy’s fatal charms.

The script is not entirely satisfactory, providing an effective explanation for Nancy’s kleptomania but hardly the murder which is the pivotal event of the narrative whilst Nancy’s remarkable history appears to go unnoticed by the woman (Katherine Emery) responsible for the originary trauma that set her near daughter-in-law on her wayward path. Although very much a dime store novel yarn it is one that Hitchcock would have loved and it is of course, thematically related to both Spellbound (1945) and Marnie (1964).




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