The Strange Woman

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The Strange Woman
The Strange Woman 1946 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
Produced by
Written by
Screenplay by Herb Meadow
Based on the novel The Strange Woman 
by Ben Ames Williams
Starring
Music by Carmen Dragon
Cinematography Lucien N. Andriot
Edited by
  • John M. Foley
  • Richard G. Wray
Production
  company
United Artists
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s)
  • October 25, 1946 (1946-10-25) (USA)
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Strange Woman is a 1946 American dramatic thriller film directed by Edgar G. Ulmer and starring Hedy Lamarr, George Sanders, and Louis Hayward. Originally released by United Artists, the film is now in the public domain.

Plot[edit]

In Bangor, Maine in 1824, a cruel young girl named Jenny Hager pushes a terrified Ephraim Poster into a river knowing he cannot swim. She is prepared to let him drown until Judge Saladine happens by, at which point Jenny jumps into the water and takes credit for saving the boy's life.

About ten years later, Jenny has grown up to be a beautiful but equally heartless and manipulative young woman. Her father, a drunken widower, whips Jenny after learning of her flirtation with a sailor. She secretly schemes to wed the richest man in town, the much older timber baron Isaiah Poster, while his son Ephraim is away to college at Cambridge.

Poster is unkind to his mild-mannered son upon Ephraim's return. He is unaware that the boy and Jenny were once sweethearts and that Jenny is again flirting with Ephraim behind her husband's back. Poster is more concerned about the lawlessness in town, lumberjacks drunkenly pillaging the town, manhandling the women and killing the judge, confirming Poster's long-held belief that Bangor must organize a police force.

Jenny secretly hopes that her husband will die after he falls ill. When he recovers, Poster must make a trip to his lumber camps. Jenny appeals to Ephraim to arrange his father's death, saying, "I want you to return alone." In the rapids, both men fall from an overturned canoe and Poster drowns. His son, still deathly afraid of water, is unable or unwilling to save him.

To his shock, Ephraim returns to Jenny telling him, "You can't come into this house, you wretched coward...You've killed your father." He becomes a hopeless drunk, hating her and speaking freely about her deceitful ways. Poster's superintendent in the timber business, John Evered, goes to confront Ephraim but isn't sure whether to believe the harsh words he hears about Jenny.

Jenny proceeds to seduce Evered, who is engaged to marry her best friend, Meg Saladine, the judge's daughter. Lust overtakes them during a thunderstorm. After their wedding, Evered is eager to have children, but Jenny learns she cannot bear any.

A traveling evangelist, Lincoln Pettridge, preaches fire and brimstone that results in Jenny's confession to her husband that everything Ephraim said about her was true. Evered goes off to be by himself at a lumber camp, where Meg comes to persuade Evered to go back to his wife. Jenny, however, discovers them together, violently whips her horse and tries to run them down with her carriage. It careens off a cliff and she is killed.

Cast[edit]

Hedy Lamarr and George Sanders in The Strange Woman

Production[edit]

The production dates were from December 10, 1945 to mid-March 1946 at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios. Hedy Lamarr and Jack Chertok formed a partnership to produce this film. Production on the film was shut down between December 13, 1945 and January 3, 1946 due to Hedy Lamarr's bout with the flu.

External links[edit]