My Name Is Julia Ross

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My Name Is Julia Ross
My Name Is Julia Ross poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joseph H. Lewis
Produced by Wallace MacDonald
Screenplay by Muriel Roy Bolton
Based on the novel The Woman in Red 
by Anthony Gilbert
Starring Nina Foch
Dame May Whitty
Music by Mischa Bakaleinikoff
Cinematography Burnett Guffey
Edited by Henry Batista
Production
company
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • November 9, 1945 (1945-11-09) (premiere in New York)
  • November 27, 1945 (1945-11-27) (wide release)
Running time 65 minutes
Country United States
Language English

My Name Is Julia Ross is a 1945 film noir, having also some elements of Gothic fiction, directed by Joseph H. Lewis and based on the novel The Woman in Red by Anthony Gilbert. This drama is the first in a series of films noir directed by Lewis and features Nina Foch, Dame May Whitty and George Macready.[1]

Plot[edit]

In London, Julia Ross (Foch) goes to a new employment agency, desperate for work. When Mrs. Sparkes (Anita Sharp-Bolster) learns that she has no near relations, she recommends Julia for a job as a live-in personal secretary to a wealthy widow, Mrs. Hughes (Whitty). Mrs. Hughes approves and insists that she move that very night into her house. Two days later, Julia awakens a prisoner at an isolated seaside estate in Cornwall.

All her possessions have disappeared and the young woman is told she is really Marion, the wife of Ralph Hughes (Macready), Mrs. Hughes's son. The staff have been told that she has suffered a nervous breakdown; as a result, they ignore her seemingly wild claims and her attempts to escape are all foiled.

Julia writes a letter to her only close friend and admirer, Dennis Bruce (Roland Varno), and cleverly leaves it where it can be found. The Hughes substitute a blank sheet of paper and allow her to post it, unaware that Julia has anticipated them and written a second letter. Even so, when a "doctor" comes in response to a fake poisoning attempt, she blurts out her plan to him, only to discover that he (along with Mrs. Sparkes) is in on the scheme. He is dispatched to London to intercept the letter. When the real doctor shows up, Julia thinks he's also a fake and refuses to see him. The doctor recommends she be taken to a hospital immediately, but Mrs. Hughes persuades him to come back in the morning.

That night, Julia discovers a secret passage to her room and overhears Ralph admit to his mother that he murdered his real wife in a fit of rage and disposed of her body in the sea. Julia's captors have to make it appear that she has committed suicide before the doctor can take her away.

Julia throws her gown out the window, making it look like she threw herself to her death, then hides in the secret passage. When the doctor drives up, Mrs. Hughes delays him so that her son can get to the body first. Ralph picks up a rock to ensure that Julia is really dead, but is stopped by Dennis and a policeman, who had been alerted by the letter. (The fake doctor had been apprehended in London when he tried to intercept the letter.) When Ralph tries to flee, he is shot down.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Film critic Bosley Crowther wrote a mixed review, "The director and scenarist of the Ambassador's new mystery, My Name Is Julia Ross, deserve a B-plus for effort at least. It is quite evident that they strived earnestly to whip up excitement and suspense, but somehow that electrifying quality which distinguishes good melodrama is lacking in this transcription of the Anthony Gilbert novel, The Woman in Red ... While Joseph Lewis, the director, succeeds in creating an effectively ominous atmosphere, he has not been as adept in handling the players, and that, we suspect, is why My Name Is Julia Ross misses the mark.[2]

The staff at Variety magazine praised the production, writing, "Mystery melodrama with a psychological twist runs only 64 minutes but it's fast and packed with tense action throughout. Acting and production (though apparently modestly budgeted) are excellent."[3]

Adaptation[edit]

The film was remade as Dead of Winter (1987), directed by Arthur Penn.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ My Name is Julia Ross at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  2. ^ Crowther, Bosly. The New York Times, film review, November 9, 1945. Accessed: July 25, 2013.
  3. ^ Variety. Staff film review, 1945. Accessed: July 25, 2013.
  4. ^ Dead of Winter at the Internet Movie Database.

External links[edit]