OTHER WOMAN, THE
(director/writer: Hugo Haas; cinematographer: Ed Fitzgerald; editor: Robert S. Eisen; music: Ernest Gold; cast: Hugo Haas (Darman), Cleo Moore (Sherry Stewart), Lance Fuller (Ronnie), Lucille Barkley (Mrs. Darman), Jack Macy (Lester), John Qualen (Papasha), Jan Arvan (Inspector Collins), Carolee Kelly (secretary), Mark Lowell (Assistant Director), Melinda Markey (Actress); Runtime: 81; 20th Century Fox; 1954)
“A vulgar fantasy film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A vulgar fantasy film that takes the theme that life imitates art. It’s a low-budget B-film about an émigré director, Mr. Darman (Hugo Haas), whose Hollywood career is enhanced because he married the daughter of a wealthy Hollywood studio head, Lucille (Barkley).
The film begins with Haas directing a scene in jail.
On the movie set an emergency comes up when a bit actress is needed immediately as a replacement, on a whim the director Darman tries out an unemployed actress who is in the waiting room, Sherry Stewart (Cleo Moore, Haas’s wife). When the aspiring actress flubs her three lines and is dismissed, she vows revenge. She gets the director to take her home one evening when his wife is away. Once inside her house she drugs his drink and he sleeps over her place until the morning, which is when her boyfriend Ronnie (Fuller) finds them together. She claims they had sexual relations and will tell his wife unless she gets $50,000. The nervous director is afraid that his father-in-law (Macy) and his wife will not understand, and that the publicity of a scandal will ruin his Hollywood career. He has been at odds with his father-in-law on how to make a good film, as his father-in-law thinks all you have to do to get a box-office hit is mix in sex with violence and conclude with a happy ending.
Warning: spoiler to follow in the next paragraph.
Darman sees the only way out of his jam, is to get rid of the pesty Sherry. For an alibi, he has his secretary (Kelly) work late and he stays in the editing room and puts the moviola on automatic. While the film is running he sneaks out the back way and strangles Sherry. But unfortunately for him, his wife received an urgent call from Sherry and shows up at her place only to find the dead body. The police investigate and Inspector Collins (Arvan) immediately suspects Darman, and soon gets him to confess.
This was a dull film noir, suffering from an unconvincing plot, and dry acting.
REVIEWED ON 3/28/2002 GRADE: C –