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HER SISTER’S SECRET (director: Edgar G. Ulmer; screenwriters: Anne Green/ based on the novel, “Dark Angel” by Gina Kaus; cinematographer: Frank F. Planer; editor: Jack Ogilvie; music: Hans Sommer; cast: Nancy Coleman (Toni Dubois), Margaret Lindsay (Renee Dubois), Philip Reed (Dick Connolly), Regis Toomey (Bill Gordon), Henry Stephenson (Mr. Dubois), Felix Bressart (Pepe), Winston Severn (Billy), Fritz Feld (Wine Salesman), Helene Heigh (Etta), George Meeker (Guy), Frances Williams (Matilda), Rudolph Anders (Birdman); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Henry Brash; PRC; 1946)
“Has some juice.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An ambitious Poverty Row WWII romantic soap opera tale directed by the prolific maverick indie filmmaker Edgar G. Ulmer (“Black Cat”/”Detour”/”Carnegie Hall”). It has some juice. The b/w film is based on the novel “Dark Angel” by Gina Kaus and is written by Anne Green.

At the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, at the end of the war, in the French Quarter, “Toni” Dubois (Nancy Coleman) and friend Guy (George Meeker) are celebrating at Pepe’s (Felix Bressart) restaurant, but handsome uniformed PFC soldier Dick Connolly (Philip Reed) eyeballs Toni and maneuvers to dump his date and leave the restaurant with Toni after dancing with her. She’s wearing a Marie Antoinette costume and mask. The madly in love G.I. proposes after a night out together, but Toni suggests they meet in six weeks. Toni at the end of six weeks is pregnant and in love, but Dick is a no show. The letter he wrote to explain his absence, due to the cancellation of his leave, never reaches her.

The embarrassed Toni, believing she’s an abandoned woman, travels to NYC to visit her married sister Renee Dubois Gordon (Margaret Lindsay), whose naval officer hubby Bill (Regis Toomey) is overseas. Renee, who can’t have children, agrees to take her sister’s child and raise it as her own. The baby boy is named Bill. Toni agrees not to see him for three years. When she sees the baby after three years, she’s determined to get back her child.

The glossy women’s pic is fine when set during the wild Mardi Gras celebration, but is grounded when the weepie melodrama gets going and it ends on a note of contrived happiness.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”