Movies about/starring women. I originally started this list just as a reference for myself, but hopefully others will find it…
No Man of Her Own
A penniless pregnant woman takes over the identity of a rich woman killed in a train crash.
If film-going is akin church service, then each Stanwyck performance is like a visit to the Vatican.
I believe this is Mitchell Leisen's only entry in the noir genre, his better known films mostly consisting of comedy romance material. I'm a fan of the few Leisen films I've seen, but No Man of Her Own knocked my socks off. It opens with a fantastic voiceover sequence, with Barbara Stanwyck intoning Cornell Woolrich's fatalistic prose, immediately setting a tone of alienation, paranoia, and dread, which is maintained right up until the last few minutes of the film. Stanwyck is fantastic, and there is a great turn from Jane Cowl. A really fine melodramatic noir.
Opens on what should be an idyllic suburban Shangri-La, but close examination of the figures in the tableau shows something is off. Stanwyck's gaze is not fixed upon her husband or sleeping child, unease is in her posture and on her face, the baby's head is... too big. We've descended beyond the white picket fences and manicured green lawns and entered into the insect ridden terra of noir. Things only get more Lynchian from there as Stanwyck's "woman in trouble" befriends a preternaturally nice couple on a train and a disaster sends identities flying all over the place. The tension is subtle and just under the surface throughout this eerie, moody thriller that only ever missteps when a few too…
Reminds me of some of the themes from the most famous Mexican melodramas, usually protagonized by a single woman who will go to extraordinary lengths to care for her young son/daughter. Here, we’re in the suburban U.S., though, and it’s Stanwyck taking on that role; she ends up being misidentified as someone in a more privileged place in society and decides to “roll” with her new identity for the sake of the child. In classic Woolrich fashion (which I’m pretty well immersed in after a weekend of this stuff), the P.O.V. that the film starts to inhabit necessarily becomes quite paranoid— she’s fearful that any misstep she could make, that any untimely intrusion into her new adopted home, could result in her identity falling apart.
This appears to be one of the big surprise hits of this year's Noir City Austin festival, but it didn't really work for me as well as it seemed to for everyone else. I thought it was a little bit over-plotted (perhaps a redundancy given its Woolrich source material, but here we are), and even though Barbara Stanwyck is incredible as always, isn't her character just a little bit too noble for this to reach its true potential? Good stuff, though, with one of the all-time great corpse disposal sequences of film noir.
This has a tension that starts right at the beginning and doesn't ever really let up until the end, much of which is thanks to Barbara Stanwyck. But the filmmaking achieves this sort of, to use a somewhat tired comparsion, Lynchian other-worldliness that just builds and builds and builds. Shot of the fest: a man carrying a dead body up a walkway consumed by smoke from a freight train engine
More "While You Were Dead" than "While You Were Sleeping." The movie gets a little noir-y at the end, but is mostly just solid melodrama up until then.
I hate when barbara stanwyck is whining and crying. So strange
A penniless woman assumes the identity of a similar-looking woman after a train crash so she can raise her son in a well-to-do household. Nobody does melodrama quite like Barbara Stanwyck. She always had such an intelligent sense of where her characters were and how to play any given scene to the director's liking. And even when directors like Mitchell Leisen get a little over-the-top, Stanwyck finds just the right note to hit to make all the hamminess taste good.
And I can't think of a film that better showcases this talent than "No Man of Her Own." The story is a bit preposterous and lends itself to "One Life to Live" or "The Bold and the Beautiful," but it…
A desperate, pregnant woman (Barbara Stanwyck), with only four nickels to her name, is mistaken for another woman after surviving a train crash, and uses the opportunity to raise her son in wealth and luxury, constantly worrying about when her past will catch up with her. Noir soap opera starts off slowly but shifts into high gear in the second half, throwing nearly every melodramatic cliché at the screen, but it actually becomes a gripping, thoroughly entertaining, ever-so-slightly camp picture, thanks to Leisen's florid direction, tight, taut editing by Alma Macrorie, Stanwyck acting to the rafters and a particularly fine, steely, understated performance by Jane Cowl as her "mother-in-law."
Great story and characters, very good classic film.
Watched on YouTube as part of The Paramount Vault.
Paramount launched their own YouTube channel called The Paramount Vault a few weeks ago that I've been wanting to check out. They have a modest selection of some lesser-known films that seem ripe for the picking. There's a few on there I really want to see (like Ninja III: The Domination), but today I wanted to pick something I'd never heard of before. Enter No Man of Her Own.
No Man of Her Own is a 1950 film noir with a convoluted plot that nonetheless works really well once all of its pieces are set in motion. Barbara Stanwyck stars as Helen Ferguson, a woman who is very much pregnant to a complete piece of shit dude. She wants to…
Amazing watch it
"The summer nights are so pleasant in Caulfield. But not for us. Not for us." Only passable adaptation of Cornell Woolrich's sad, poetic, beautiful "I Married a Dead Man".
Preserving this list for posterity as it will disappear from here:
- after number 70, "In a Land…