Strangers In The Night is a fun little dark noir by Anthony Mann about a lonely, mentally disturbed elderly woman whose manifestation of a daughter she never had causes problems for a returning Marine from the war. The Marine received various letters from this fictitious daughter, setting up a dark and entertaining tale of deception and mental illness. Running under 60 minutes in length, this film is very direct and to the point in creating a rather disturbing view on Maternity. Pretty
much for any film of this genre, the film lives or dies with the central performance, and Helen Thimig, who plays the elderly woman, really excels in this particular film. There is a quiet unease about this woman, and everything she does is cold and calculated, yet she is completely detached from the reality of life. Mann makes sure she is somewhat of a tragic figure, particularly during the finale in which we learn of her maternal desires and mental breakdown being primarily a result of her inability to have children. It's fast-paced, efficient and features a good atmosphere with some trademark Mann compositions making this a cool little semi-forgotten film of Mann's filmography.
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