An excellent example of film noir, with a lean plot and atmospheric camera work. Foch stars as a woman caught up in a situation beyond her conception or control. After accepting employment as a secretary for wealthy matron Whitty, she meets her employer's son, Macready. He shows her
around the mansion, takes Foch to her room, and brings her dinner. She awakens after a deep sleep in a different house wearing someone else's clothes. She was actually drugged by Macready who tells her that she is really his wife, just home from a mental institution. Trying to flee, Foch discovers
she is in a mansion surrounded by a 10-foot wall with a heavily secured entrance. On a trip to town, Foch manages to slip a note in the mailbox to her boy friend, Varno, in London. Eventually she overhears Whitty and Macready in conversation. They plan to kill her and make it look like suicide in
order to cover-up the murder of Macready's real wife. Desperate, Foch pretends to take poison and pleads for a doctor. But she is fooled when they bring in butler Mudie posing as the doctor. She confesses the whole story, including the letter to her boy friend. Mudie attempts to intercept the
letter in London, but when he is caught stealing it from the post office, he confesses all. Varno and the police rush to the Cornwall estate arriving just as Macready is about to kill Foch. Whitty is arrested, but her son is killed trying to escape. Together once more, Foch and Varno return to
London. "The next time I apply for a job I'll ask for their references!" exclaims Foch.
This humorous bit of dialog aside, MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS is harrowing and suspenseful. Tension is created largely through a display of closeups, while such devices as a dizzying 360-degree pan encircling the room to represent Foch's drugged state when she awakens indicate a cinematic
sophistication. Unlike many 1940s mysteries, the love story doesn't get in the way of the suspense. The actors are very good: Macready, with his scarred cheek, is evil personified, at once threatening to Foch and utterly charming to the outside world; Whitty, the delighful old lady of Hitchcock's
THE LADY VANISHES, is appropriate as the mother, though casting against her type doesn't work well here. This was Lewis' first directorial effort in the film noir genre, which is known for simple, low-budgeted films that are examples of high quality cinema. Lewis considered this film to be the
true beginning of his successful career. Based on Anthonly Gilbert's novel The Lady in Red, MY NAME WAS JULIA ROSS was later remade as DEAD OF WINTER IN 1987 by Arthur Penn.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: An excellent example of film noir, with a lean plot and atmospheric camera work. Foch stars as a woman caught up in a situation beyond her conception or control. After accepting employment as a secretary for wealthy matron Whitty, she meets her employer's… (more)