LADIES IN RETIREMENT
1941, Sony Repertory, 91 min, USA, Dir: Charles Vidor

Ida Lupino scores as a timid housekeeper who becomes enmeshed in murder and madness. Ida tends to an aged actress (Isobel Elsom) and persuades her to take in her two eccentric sisters (Elsa Lanchester and Edith Barrett). All bets are off when a mysterious stranger (Lupino's then-husband Louis Hayward) arrives to stir the pot further. There is nothing retiring about this suspenseful Victorian noir, which has been unjustly overlooked and underappreciated.


STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT
1944, Republic [Paramount], 56 min, USA, Dir: Anthony Mann

A WWII veteran comes to a California town to meet the woman who was his cherished wartime pen pal. The girl’s peculiar mother claims she’s away - perhaps far, far away. This highly atmospheric, slightly daft B was the sixth low-budget wonder on the growing résumé of esteemed noir director (T-MEN, RAW DEAL), featuring a jaw-dropping performance by Austrian actress Helen Thimig. Not on DVD!


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