6.7/10
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42 user 18 critic

The Strange Woman (1946)

In 1820s New England beautiful but poor and manipulative Jenny Hager marries rich old man Isaiah Poster but also seduces his son and his company foreman.

Directors:

Edgar G. Ulmer (as Edgar Ulmer), Douglas Sirk (uncredited)

Writers:

Herb Meadow (screenplay), Ben Ames Williams (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Hedy Lamarr ... Jenny Hager
George Sanders ... John Evered
Louis Hayward ... Ephraim Poster
Gene Lockhart ... Isaiah Poster
Hillary Brooke ... Meg Saladine
Rhys Williams ... Deacon Adams
June Storey ... Lena Tempest
Moroni Olsen ... Rev. Thatcher
Olive Blakeney ... Mrs. Hollis
Kathleen Lockhart ... Mrs. Partridge
Alan Napier ... Judge Henry Saladine
Dennis Hoey ... Tim Hager
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Storyline

Beautiful Jenny Hager finds she can always get what she wants from the men in the 1820's port of Bangor, Maine. Freed by his death from her drunkard father she soon manoeuvres herself into a position to marry a middle-aged monied local businessman. Though she often uses his money to do good, she continues to consider all other men fair game. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"There was something in Jenny Hager that many men sensed...and it set men burning..." See more »


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 October 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Den onda ängeln See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Is in the Public Domain, like most films directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. See more »

Goofs

No explanation is given as to how Hedy Lamarr's character, a young girl who grew up in Bangor, Maine, in the 1800s, acquired an Austrian accent. See more »

Quotes

Lincoln Pittridge: [Giving a sermon, quoting from Proverbs 5:3] The lips of a strange woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil... But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Extraordinary Women: Hedy Lamarr (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

What Can You Do with a Drunken Sailor?
Traditional
Early 19th Century sea chanty
[Heard in tavern]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bangor is mine and it owes me a living.
4 October 2013 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

The Strange Woman is directed by Edgar G. Ulmer who also co-writes the screenplay with Hunt Stromberg and Herb Matthews from the novel of the same name written by Ben Ames Williams. It stars Hedy Lamarr, George Sanders, Louis Hayward, Gene Lockhart, Hilary Brooke, Rhys Williams and June Storey. Music is by Carmen Dragon and cinematography by Lucien N. Andriot.

I don't want the youngest. I want the richest!

Well well, what an intriguing little period noir this is. Story deals with Jenny Hagar (Lamarr), a strong and scheming woman who in 1840s Bangor in Maine, uses men for her own gains whilst exuding a double persona that shunts her into the upper echelons of the town's standings. But, as we become privy to Jenny's back story and psychological make-up, you can feel that cloud of pessimism closing in.

There will always be arguments put forward about if the likes of The Strange Woman should be classed as noir or not, but with Ulmer and Andriot cloaking the tale with claustrophobic shadows and low lights, the blacks and whites atmospherically used, thus the visuals are in place to marry up with the story, and what a story.

Jenny Hagar is a classic femme fatale, in fact fatalistic could be her middle name. We get a sneak peak of her deviousness as a child, and then we see her as a luscious older beauty, dangling men around her fingers and fully committed to marrying purely for money. What follows Jenny around is murder, suicide, incest, seduction, greed, violence and alcoholism! And of course, self-destruction.

Jenny has no qualms about who she tramples on to achieve her ends, but the kicker in her story is that she does have good in her fighting to get out, she can be charitable at times, and as we come to understand her upbringing she even garners a level of sympathy from the audience. It's this dual aspect of her make-up that intrigues greatly, but she's fighting a losing battle, more so as Bangor is the wrong place for her, itself a confused mess of unsavoury or spoilt characters.

There were problems behind the scenes, but so many conflicting reports exist it's hard to know what is true and who was pulling the main strings. What we do know is that Ulmer, armed with a bigger budget than usual, has crafted a moody and daring picture that strikes devilish notes without banging the drum too loudly. Striking scenes and imagery are many, thunderstorm seduction, lairy lumberjacks, river of death and the big finale are just some of the moments showing what Ulmer was capable off.

While Lamarr, for her pet project to move her into darker roles and be taken seriously as an actress, turns in a top performance. Unafraid of the material, she cuts loose with a blend of sexual dynamism and troubled soul. Around her are fine performances from Lockhart, Hayward and Brooke, though Sanders is a touch out of place. The pace sometimes sags, and motivations and actions of support characters could have been more fleshy, but in the main this is well worth taking a stroll down a dark alley for. 7.5/10


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