Undercurrent (1946 film)

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theatrical film poster
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Produced by Pandro S. Berman
Screenplay by Edward Chodorov
George Oppenheimer
Marguerite Roberts
Based on "You Were There"
in Woman's Home Companion magazine (1944-45)
by Thelma Strabe
Starring Katharine Hepburn
Robert Taylor
Robert Mitchum
Music by Herbert Stothart
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Cinematography Karl Freund
Edited by Ferris Webster
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • November 28, 1946 (1946-11-28)
Running time
116 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,644,000[1]
Box office $4,327,000[1]

Undercurrent is a 1946 film noir drama directed by Vincente Minnelli.[2][3] The screenplay was written by Edward Chodorov, based on the novel You Were There by Thelma Strabel. The motion picture features Katharine Hepburn, Robert Taylor, Robert Mitchum, and others.[4]


Ann Hamilton (Katharine Hepburn) is a middle-aged bride who begins to suspect that her charming husband Alan Garroway (Robert Taylor) plans to murder her. Nor can she ignore the shadow of her brother-in-law Michael Garroway (Robert Mitchum), whom she's never met but has been told so much about.



Critical response[edit]

Variety magazine lauded the film and wrote, "Undercurrent is heavy drama with femme appeal...Hepburn sells her role with usual finesse and talent. Robert Mitchum, as the missing brother, has only three scenes but makes them count for importance."[5]

Critic Bosley Crowther of the New York Times also liked the film and wrote, "However, that is Undercurrent-—and you must take it upon its own terms, which are those of theatrical dogmatism, if you hope to endure it at all. If you do, you may find it gratifying principally because Miss Hepburn gives a crisp and taut performance of a lady overcome by mounting fears and Mr. Taylor, back in films from his war service, accelerates a brooding meanness as her spouse. You may also find Robert Mitchum fairly appealing in a crumpled, modest way as the culturally oriented brother, even though he appears in only a couple of scenes. And you may like Edmund Gwenn and Jayne Meadows, among others, in minor roles."[6]

More recently, critic Dennis Schwartz wrote, "Director Vincente Minnelli...known mostly through his upbeat MGM musicals changes direction with this tearjerker femme appealing romantic melodrama, that can also be viewed as a heavy going psychological film noir (at least, stylishly noir through the brilliantly dark photography of Karl Freund)...Though overlong and filled with too many misleading clues about which brother is the baddie, the acting is superb even though both Katharine Hepburn and Robert Mitchum are cast against type (a weak woman and a sensitive man). It successfully takes on the theme from Gaslight."[7]

Box office[edit]

The film was popular at the box office: according to MGM records it earned $2,828,000 in the US and Canada and $1,409,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $1,001,000.[1] Variety said it earned $3.25 million in rentals in 1946.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ Variety film review; October 2, 1946, page 8.
  3. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; October 5, 1946, page 158.
  4. ^ Undercurrent on IMDb.
  5. ^ Variety. Film review, 1946. Last accessed: March 29, 2008.
  6. ^ Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, November 29, 1946. Last accessed: March 29, 2008.
  7. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, May 13, 2006. Last accessed: March 29, 2008.
  8. ^ "60 Top Grossers of 1946", Variety 8 January 1947 p8

External links[edit]