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ALIMONY (director: Alfred Zeisler; screenwriters: story by Royal K. Cole & Sherman Lowe/Sherman Lowe/Laurence Lipton/George Bricker; cinematographer: Gilbert Warrenton; editor: Joseph Gluck; music: Alexander Laszlo; cast: Martha Vickers (Kitty Travers), Hillary Brooke (Linda Waring), John Beal (Dan Barker), Leonid Kinskey (Joe Woods), Laurie Lind (Helen Drake), Douglas Dumbrille (Burt Crail), Ralph Graves (George Griswold), Marie Blake (Mrs. Nesbitt), James Guilfoyle (Paul Klinger); Runtime: 71; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Constantin J. David; Equity Pictures Corporation; 1949)
“An unappealing minor Poverty Row film noir about using the alimony laws in a fraudulent way to fleece rich husbands.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An unappealing minor Poverty Row film noir about using the alimony laws in a fraudulent way to fleece rich husbands. It’s directed by Alfred Zeisler. who didn’t have his heart in the script. It brings nothing to the table but what’s expected of such a lurid soap opera melodrama. The empty characterizations, the unsound story, and the stiff acting make it an unpleasant watch.

Warning: spoilers in the next two paragraphs.

Kitty Travis (Martha Vickers) has just been brought to the hospital after being hit by a car. It’s learned that she’s just been released from serving a 5-year prison sentence for her part in an alimony scheme. In the next scene, Dan Barker (John Beal) introduces himself to Mr. Klinger (James Guilfoyle), the widowed father of Kitty, who lost track of his daughter for the last several years since she ran away from her country home in Minnesota to live in the Big Apple and try to make it big in showbiz. Dan fills him in on the details of his estranged daughter’s life in the city–relating how they lived together in Mrs. Nesbitt’s boarding house, where he was a struggling piano player and composer. When Dan’s kindly agent, Joe Woods (Leonid Kinskey), tells him that he hit it big-time by getting his musical backed for a Broadway show, Kitty takes a sudden interest in him and the gold-digging babe breaks up his engagement with his longtime sweet waitress girlfriend Linda Waring (Hillary Brooke). But when the play deal falls through, Kitty dumps Dan to go back to working for crooked divorce lawyer Burt Crail (Douglas Dumbrille). He’s in cahoots with Kitty’s best friend Helen Drake (Laurie Lind), who lives high off the hog after getting alimony from her wealthy hubby after a short marriage where she framed him with a photo taken by a private detective of him with another woman (one he never saw before). Dan asks Linda’s forgiveness and marries her, and soon makes a killing when his song “That’s how dreams are made” becomes the number one hit. When Kitty hears about his success, the cold-hearted ambitious woman goes back to Dan and becomes the song’s singer and gets known as the “inspiration” for the composer. They go on a two month tour together, where the helplessly in love sap gets hooked again by Kitty and showers her with gifts and attention. The pregnant Linda fights back to win her man, but only succeeds when he goes broke and Kitty dumps him again to return to work for Crail. Helen introduces her to multi-millionaire George Griswold (Ralph Graves), and Kitty quickly ropes him into marrying her. When they try the frame-up scheme of having a woman caught in a compromising photo with him, they are outwitted because the wary Griswold used a double.

In the concluding scene from her hospital bed, a repentant Kitty begs forgiveness from her dad and the Barkers. Dad is set to take her back home and give her another chance, the Barkers are also in a forgiving mood. I guess the only one not in a forgiving mood was this critic, who had a tough time figuring out what these characters were all about.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”