Another Man's Poison
|Another Man's Poison|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Irving Rapper|
|Produced by||Daniel M. Angel
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
|Written by||Val Guest|
|Music by||John Greenwood
|Edited by||Gordon Hales|
|Distributed by||Eros Films|
|20 November 1951|
Another Man's Poison is a 1951 British drama film directed by Irving Rapper and starring Bette Davis, Gary Merrill and Emlyn Williams. The screenplay by Val Guest is based on the play Deadlock by Leslie Sands.
Successful mystery novelist Janet Frobisher, who has been separated for years from her husband, a man with a criminal past, lives in an isolated home in England. Her nearest neighbour is nosy veterinarian Dr. Henderson. Janet falls in love and occasionally dabbles with her secretary Chris' fiancé, Larry, who is years younger than she. When her estranged husband unexpectedly appears, Janet poisons him by administering horse medication given to her by her neighbour. One of the deceased man's criminal cohorts arrives as she's preparing to dispose of the body in the local lake. When Frobisher's secretary and Larry arrive at the secluded house, the mysterious man, who has assisted her with her scheme, impersonates the long-absent spouse of Janet, who plots to get rid of her unplanned accomplice, as well.
Of the project, star Bette Davis recalled, "We had nothing but script trouble. Gary [Merrill] and I often wondered why we agreed to make this film after we got started working on it. Emlyn [Williams] rewrote many scenes for us, which gave it some plausibility, but we never cured the basic ills of the story."
Rapper, who was selected by Davis to helm the film, had directed her in Now, Voyager ten years earlier.
- Bette Davis ..... Janet Frobisher
- Gary Merrill ..... George Bates
- Emlyn Williams..... Dr. Henderson
- Anthony Steel ..... Larry Stevens
- Barbara Murray ..... Chris Dale
- Reginald Beckwith ..... Mr. Bigley
- Edna Morris ..... Mrs. Bunting
Principal production credits
- Producer ..... Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Daniel M. Angel
- Original Music ..... John Greenwood (UK release), Paul Sawtell (US release)
- Cinematography ..... Robert Krasker
- Art Direction ..... Cedric Dawe
- Costume Design ..... Julie Harris
The New York Times described the film as "a garrulous but occasionally interesting excursion into murder and unrequited love . . . the script . . . is basically a static affair that rarely escapes from its sets or the scenarist's verbosity. Suspense is only fitfully generated and then quickly dissipated . . . Gary Merrill contributes a thoroughly seasoned and convincing portrayal . . . Emlyn Williams adds a professionally polished characterization . . . and Anthony Steel and Barbara Murray are adequate . . . However, Another Man's Poison is strictly Bette Davis' meat. She is permitted a wide latitude of histrionics in delineating the designing neurotic who is as flinty a killer as any we've seen in the recent past."
In his review in New Statesman and Nation, Frank Hauser wrote, "No one has ever accused Bette Davis of failing to rise to a good script; what this film shows is how far she can go to meet a bad one."