The Second Woman

Overview

James V. Kern's psychological thriller The Second Woman, starring Robert Young and Betsy Drake, comes to DVD from Alpha Video in a decent looking edition. Made from a 16mm print that is cleaner in its early reels than its later ones, the image is marred only by occasional missing frames (especially at 19 minutes into the movie), a few rough spots in the dissolves between scenes, and some vertical black lines in the center and on the right-hand side of the image. There's also very slightly muted audio -- that ...
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Overview

James V. Kern's psychological thriller The Second Woman, starring Robert Young and Betsy Drake, comes to DVD from Alpha Video in a decent looking edition. Made from a 16mm print that is cleaner in its early reels than its later ones, the image is marred only by occasional missing frames (especially at 19 minutes into the movie), a few rough spots in the dissolves between scenes, and some vertical black lines in the center and on the right-hand side of the image. There's also very slightly muted audio -- that could be a serious drawback when one considers the complexity of the dialogue and the fact that the movie's score is a very deliberate amalgam of Tchaikovsky melodies; on the other hand, what is here is clean and the volume is set at a fairly high level that pumps up well through speakers. The movie itself is an unsual psychological suspense vehicle, owing as much to such pre-World War II thrillers as Gaslight as it does to Hollywood film noir, and features a first-rate cast that includes acting legend (and blacklistee) Morris Carnovsky. The usual six chapters in an Alpha release are present, not really adequate for a 91 minute movie, but given that this is a budget priced release, it's also difficult to complain too loudly.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Second Woman is an intriguing if frustrating little thriller -- frustrating because it verges on being very good but settles for being merely OK. Part of the problem is that Woman combines elements of various styles -- film noir, psychological drama, mystery, thriller, romance -- but doesn't meld them into a satisfying whole. Some may also have a problem with Robert Young's extremely subdued performance as Jeff Cohalan. While Young is actually doing some very careful, nuanced work, the manner in which he underplays -- which is exactly what is demanded by the screenplay -- may preclude sufficient involvement on the part of the viewer. As Ellen Foster, Betsy Drake gamely tries to make up for this, but occasionally comes across as pushing too hard. James Kern should be lauded for his attempts to create mood and atmosphere, and for his considerable success in this area, but he should also be criticized for letting the pace flag in spots and for not finding a consistent tone for the piece. The story is, fortunately, rather fascinating and keeps the audience quite involved, even when the dialogue is a bit simplistic. All in all, The Second Woman is a good attempt that is worth watching, even if it falls short of reaching its goals.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/15/2003
  • UPC: 089218414991
  • Original Release: 1951
  • Rating:

  • Source: Alpha Video
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:31:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 45,673

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robert Young Jeff Cohalan
Betsy Drake Ellen Foster
Florence Bates Amelia Foster
Morris Carnovsky Dr. Hartley
Henry O'Neill Ben Sheppard
Jean Rogers Dodo Ferris
Raymond Largay Maj. Badger
Shirley Ballard Vivian Sheppard
Vicki Raaf Secretary
Jason Robards Sr. Stacy Rogers
Steven Geray Balthazar Jones
Jimmy Dodd Mr. Nelson
Smoki Whitfield Porter
Cliff Clark Police Sergeant
John Sutton Keith Ferris
John Gallaudet Mac
Technical Credits
James Kern Director
Mort Briskin Producer, Screenwriter
Mac Dalgleish Sound/Sound Designer
Maria P. Donovan Costumes/Costume Designer
Nathaniel W. Finston Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Boris Leven Production Designer
Jacque Mapes Set Decoration/Design
Hal Mohr Cinematographer
Joseph H. Nadel Associate Producer
Joseph Nusbaum Musical Direction/Supervision
Harry M. Popkin Executive Producer
Robert Smith Producer, Screenwriter
Maurie M. Suess Asst. Director
Walter Thompson Editor
Henry Vilardo Makeup
Ben Winkler Sound/Sound Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Chapter 1 [12:22]
2. Chapter 2 [13:37]
3. Chapter 3 [12:25]
4. Chapter 4 [16:09]
5. Chapter 5 [16:20]
6. Chapter 6 [19:48]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Index
   Catalog
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