My Name is Julia Ross, 1945, Joseph H. Lewis

Double Feature

My Name is Julia Ross (1945)

Studio: Columbia; Regie: Joseph H. Lewis; Drehbuch: Muriel Roy Bolton nach dem Roman von Anthony Gilbert; Kamera: Burnett Guffey; Darsteller: Nina Foch, May Whitty, George Macready, Roland Varno, Anita Sharp-Bolster, Doris Lloyd. 35mm, sw, 64 min

So Dark the Night (1946)

Studio: Columbia; Regie: Joseph H. Lewis; Drehbuch: Martin Berkeley, Dwight V. Babcock, Aubrey Wisberg; Kamera: Burnett Guffey; Musik: Hugo Friedhofer; Darsteller: Steven Geray, Micheline Cheirel, Eigene Borden, Ann Codee, Egon Brecher, Helen Freeman, Brother Theodore. 35mm, sw, 71 min
Man hat My Name Is Julia Ross als eine zwar weniger aufwendig produzierte, aber umso brillanter stilisierte Antwort auf Filme wie Rebecca oder Gaslight interpretiert. Nina Foch debütiert als junge Frau, die dazu benutzt wird, eine Tote zu verkörpern, um einem finsteren Plan zu dienen. Die Melange von psychisch gestörten Menschen, Gothic-Horror-Elementen sowie einer bis zur Respektlosigkeit getriebenen komödiantischen Attitüde macht den B-Film zum Zerrspiegel prestigereicher Großproduktionen. Für Lewis bedeutete sein unerwarteter Erfolg, dass Columbia den Film nachträglich in den Rang eines A-Pictures erhob. Auch in So Dark the Night, wo sich der ewige Nebendarsteller Steven Geray als Detektiv auf dunkle Pfade begeben darf, unterstreicht Regisseur Joseph H. Lewis seine Auteur-Qualitäten. Das resultierende Angebot von Columbia, auch bei höher budgetierten Filmen Regie zu führen, lehnte er mit der Begründung ab, sich seine kreative Freiheit erhalten zu wollen (H. G.)

Aus dem Katalog zur Retrospektive:

B-film maverick Joseph H. Lewis delivered a low-rent yet brilliantly stylized reply to Rebecca and Gaslight starring a sensitive Nina Foch, in her debut role, as a young woman abducted to a seaside mansion to play the role of an already dead woman and victim of a sinister scheme. With George Macready as a knife wielding psychotic man-child and Dame May Whitty as his coddling elderly mother, My Name Is Julia Ross releases the Gothic spirits of the Forties womantrapped-in-an-old-house cycle into a brisk thriller animated by comically irreverent touches. True to its boldly assertive title, My Name Is Julia Ross flaunts the rich potential of the B-film to act as a revealingly distorting mirror of the more predictable and prestigious big-budgeted A-films. Indeed, scenes of Foch pulling apart the wall panels and stair cases to discover secret passages seem to subversively celebrate the thread-bare sets of Lewis' low-budget production. An unexpected break out hit, My Name Is Julia Ross was so popular it was elevated by Columbia to an A-feature and moved to the prestigious top half of double bills. (Haden Guest)

One of the great delights of the B-film is that rare chance to see a favorite character actor elevated to a starring role, like menacing tough guy Charles McGraw's transformation into a bulletproof cop in Armored Car Robbery, or Hungarian émigré Steven Geray, the suave maître d' and waiter in countless pictures, now cast as a Parisian detective whose engagement to a small town innkeeper's daughter is shattered by her gruesome murder. Determined to catch the killer, Geray embarks on a strange and twisting path, interrogating subjects while his criminal prey remains always one step away. In this stylish follow-up to his breakthrough hit, the Gothic plottwister My Name Is Julia Ross, Joseph H. Lewis makes clear his wild talent for the unexpected stories and bold mise-en-scène that give his films the giddy intensity so beloved by true cinephiles. Regularly rediscovered as a cult classic, So Dark the Night drew the attention of Columbia executives who began to unsuccessfully groom Lewis for bigger-budget assignments that he would steadfastly resist out of reluctance to surrender the creative freedom he found on the lower rungs of the hierarchical studio ladder. (Haden Guest)

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