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Betrayed aka When Strangers Marry (1944)

when-strangers-marry-original

This 67 minute quickie from poverty row studio Monogram is far better than it has any right to be. How’s this for a cast? Robert Mitchum, Dean Jagger, Kim Hunter, Rhonda Fleming and eventual camp/cult director William Castle.

It’s a Noir thriller before Bob Mitchum became the poster boy for the genre. It seems that Kim Hunter has married a man she hardly knows and he’s playing cat and mouse games with her. While hoping to re-unite with him in New York she finds he hasn’t arrived at the hotel that he has them booked in. She feels lost when along comes ex-flame Mitchum. He thinks something is amiss and promptly has her file a missing person report with police officer Neil Hamilton.

Hamilton becomes very suspicious of the whole set up. He’s convinced that Hunter’s traveling salesman hubby is responsible for a murder in Philadelphia. The descriptions match.

When we finally meet Hunter’s mysterious husband he appears in the form of a young Dean Jagger. Is he a red herring or is he indeed the Silk Stocking Murderer?

hunter and jagger

Director Castle keeps the plot moving at a nice pace in this low budget Noir feature. Castle wasn’t quite the showman he would become in later years but those that know his career should get a laugh out of a photograph that features prominently in the film. It’s a smiling self portrait of Castle himself long before he’s starring in his own film trailers to introduce films like The Tingler.

William Castle_1

The film’s musical score is credited to another familiar name. Dimitri Tiomkin of High Noon fame among so many other titles.

when strangers

I am making the assumption that Betrayed is a re-release title and that Mitchum has been moved up to top billing. Rhonda Fleming’s name is also given a top credit despite only appearing in the film for what amounts to a bit role though it’s easy to see that the camera has fallen in love with her.

Jagger is always a credit to any film he is cast in and Kim Hunter for me has and always will be Zira from Planet of the Apes. Any excuse for another Charlton Heston cameo…….

Taylor-and-Zira-Kiss

Mitchum is more or less starting out at the time of this film’s production and aside from one scene in particular is already displaying the laid back ultra cool style that would turn him into one of the top leading men in cinema history.

mitchum 1

I caught this one as Betrayed under the Warner Archive banner. Worth checking out if given the chance.

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