Strange Impersonation (1946)

Article 2513 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-20-2008
Posting Date: 6-29-2008
Directed by Anthony Mann
Featuring Brenda Marshall, William Gargan, Hillary Brooke
Country: USA

A woman scientist is disfigured from an explosion caused by a jealous co-worker, who schemes to steal the man she loves from her. When the female scientist is mistakenly believed to be dead, she takes on the identity of the woman who actually died, and gets plastic surgery to fix her face. She then sets out to get the man she loves back.

Sometimes an overfamiliarity with film conventions can hoodwink your enjoyment of a movie. About fifteen minutes into this movie a certain screen convention occurs to indicate a certain thing has happened, and because I recognized the convention for what it was, I knew how the movie was going to end. Yes, I’m begin vague about the convention, but that’s because I don’t want to give it away for someone who might not have seen the movie and wants to give it a chance. In some ways, knowing how it was going to end didn’t ruin things for me; if anything, it did help me to not be bothered by the fact that the story was a bit far-fetched. It was well directed by Anthony Mann, who I know primarily from having directed some very interesting westerns during the fifties. It also has a nice noirish atmosphere at times, and ultimately my biggest problem with the movie is it occasionally hits a false, clunky note in the dialogue. The movie also features H.B. Warner and Lyle Talbot, but, for me, the most interesting credit was for producer William Wilder, who is better know to me as W. Lee Wilder, the director of several low-budget science fiction movies from the fifties. The fantastic content is light here; there may be a slight nudge into science fiction courtesy of the experiments with anaesthetics, and there is a touch of horror to the plot element of the disfigured face.



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