Strange Illusion (1945)

Article 3056 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-19-2009
Posting Date: 12-26-2009
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
Featuring Jimmy Lydon, Warren William, Sally Eilers
Country: USA
What it is: Crime Thriller with mystic overtones

While on a fishing vacation, a teenager has a nightmare in which his family is threatened by a shadowy figure who plans to marry the boy’s widowed mother. When he returns home, he discovers that his mother has become attached to a strange man, and, bit by bit, he finds the elements of his dream coming true.

This movie is definitely more of a crime thriller than a supernatural one, but the precognitive dream does drive the action; it is the similarity of events in real life to those of his dream that pushes the boy into investigating further. This is one of Edgar G. Ulmer’s better known movies, though it is important to take note that it came from PRC, the bottom of the Poverty Row studio heap, and that means it doesn’t have the production values that would really make it fly. Still, give it its due, and it does deliver enough bang for its buck. As for the fantastic content, outside of the precognitive dream, there’s the fact that the villain is a serial killer of sorts. The dream sequence is done with enough imagination and power that you remember it throughout the movie, which is handy when aspects of it start coming true. This is another example of how well a ‘B’ movie can work with discipline and imagination.


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