“That’s Why I Pulled the Trigger” — Our Critics Discuss A Woman’s Secret (for Parterre Box)

DAVID FOX: Cameron, I’m delighted we’re back in the tandem saddle for a 1949 movie I’d never known! Having now seen A Woman’s Secret, it’s hard to believe I hadn’t fixated on it before. For one thing, I love director Nicholas Ray. For another, it’s based on a novel by Vicki Baum, whom my Berlin-born mother used to mention disapprovingly, as though Baum (who is mostly famous for Menschen im Hotel, better known in the U.S. as the movie Grand Hotel) was Vienna’s answer to Danielle Steel. Certainly, there is a sudsy quality to A Woman’s Secret—but that doesn’t begin to cover it. It’s by turns a melodrama, a Film Noir, a caper comedy, and so much more.

CAMERON KELSALL: When our own JJ recommended that we take a look at this movie, I remembered that I’d actually seen it once—as part of Ray retrospective at Film Forum several years ago, on a double-bill with the equally uncategorizable On Dangerous Ground (Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino). The only thing I recalled was a line spoken by Gloria Grahame, playing a hick shopgirl who’s transformed, Pygmalion-like, into a glamorous diseuse, and who originates from Azusa, California. “Everything from A to Z, USA. A-ZU-SA.” I can’t say the writing gets much better, despite a script by none other than Herman J. Mankiewicz, and much of the plot feels decidedly B-level. Yet like many of the wackier entries in Ray’s filmography, it’s compulsively watchable and often quite intriguing…

Click here to read the full post at Parterre Box.

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