The Second Woman (1950)

90-91 mins | Drama | 7 July 1950

Director:

James V. Kern

Writer:

Robert Smith

Producer:

Mort Briskin

Cinematographer:

Hal Mohr

Editor:

Walter Thompson

Production Designer:

Boris Leven

Production Company:

Cardinal Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Here Lies Love ; Ellen ; Her Sin ; and 12-Mile Drive . The onscreen credits read: "Co-Produced and Original Screen Play by Robert Smith." The composer Tchaikovsky is listed onscreen as Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky. Portions of the film were shot on location in Monterey, CA and at the Lakeside Country Club in Los Angeles. A number of reviews cited the similarities between this film and Rebecca (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.3646), and advertisements for The Second Woman encouraged such ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Here Lies Love ; Ellen ; Her Sin ; and 12-Mile Drive . The onscreen credits read: "Co-Produced and Original Screen Play by Robert Smith." The composer Tchaikovsky is listed onscreen as Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky. Portions of the film were shot on location in Monterey, CA and at the Lakeside Country Club in Los Angeles. A number of reviews cited the similarities between this film and Rebecca (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.3646), and advertisements for The Second Woman encouraged such comparisions. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Jan 1951.
---
Daily Variety
14 Feb 1950.
---
Daily Variety
2 Feb 1951.
---
Daily Variety
3 May 1951.
---
Hollywood Citizen-News
3 May 51
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Sep 49
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 49
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 50
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 50
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 1951.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
3 May 1951.
---
Los Angeles Herald Express
3 May 1951.
---
Los Angeles Times
3 May 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 Jun 1950.
---
Newsweek
12 Feb 51
p. 81.
Saturday Review
24 Feb 1951.
---
Time
19 Feb 1951.
---
Variety
24 Jan 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Adpt and mus dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairdresser
SOURCES
MUSIC
Selections from the works of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Ellen
Twelve Mile Drive
Her Sin
Release Date:
7 July 1950
Production Date:
24 October--mid December 1949 at the Motion Pictures Center Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Cardinal Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 January 1951
Copyright Number:
LP613
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90-91
Length(in feet):
8,164
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14330
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When Major Badger arrives to escort Amelia Foster and her niece Ellen to church, he warns them that Jeff Cohalan, who has been staying with them, is a dangerous criminal. They find Jeff unconscious in the garage, with the car engine running. Ellen recalls their meeting: On a train to Pine Cliff, a seaside town in California, Jeff encounters Dr. Hartley, who expresses concern about Jeff's recurring bouts of depression. In the dining car, he meets Ellen, who has traveled from Minnesota to visit her aunt, who lives next door to Jeff. Later, at Ben Sheppard's property office, where Jeff works as an architect, Keith Ferris remarks on his colleague's absent-mindedness. Ellen meets up with Jeff on the beach and asks to see Hilltop, his spectacular house, and he uneasily shows her in. Amelia later tells Ellen that Jeff built the house for his fiancée, Vivian Sheppard, Ben's daughter, who was killed in a car accident the previous year, the night before their wedding. When Ellen next calls on Jeff, she finds him preparing to shoot his horse, whose front leg has somehow been shattered. The following week, after Jeff's dog is found dead, Jeff tells Ellen that his favorite rosebush has also died, and shows her a portrait in his home that has faded dramatically since she saw it a week before. Ellen, who does actuarial work for an insurance company, urges Jeff to consider the statistical improbability of so much "bad luck" befalling one person, suggesting that his misfortune was caused by someone trying to destroy him. Ellen decides to investigate, and the next morning, she takes ... +


When Major Badger arrives to escort Amelia Foster and her niece Ellen to church, he warns them that Jeff Cohalan, who has been staying with them, is a dangerous criminal. They find Jeff unconscious in the garage, with the car engine running. Ellen recalls their meeting: On a train to Pine Cliff, a seaside town in California, Jeff encounters Dr. Hartley, who expresses concern about Jeff's recurring bouts of depression. In the dining car, he meets Ellen, who has traveled from Minnesota to visit her aunt, who lives next door to Jeff. Later, at Ben Sheppard's property office, where Jeff works as an architect, Keith Ferris remarks on his colleague's absent-mindedness. Ellen meets up with Jeff on the beach and asks to see Hilltop, his spectacular house, and he uneasily shows her in. Amelia later tells Ellen that Jeff built the house for his fiancée, Vivian Sheppard, Ben's daughter, who was killed in a car accident the previous year, the night before their wedding. When Ellen next calls on Jeff, she finds him preparing to shoot his horse, whose front leg has somehow been shattered. The following week, after Jeff's dog is found dead, Jeff tells Ellen that his favorite rosebush has also died, and shows her a portrait in his home that has faded dramatically since she saw it a week before. Ellen, who does actuarial work for an insurance company, urges Jeff to consider the statistical improbability of so much "bad luck" befalling one person, suggesting that his misfortune was caused by someone trying to destroy him. Ellen decides to investigate, and the next morning, she takes the portrait to an art dealer, who tells her that it could have been faded by exposure to a sun lamp, recalling a similar incident involving a portrait by the same artist. Later, while Ellen is showing Jeff a lab report stating that arsenic was found in the soil under the rose bush, Amelia rushes in and tells Jeff his house is on fire. The next day, Jeff learns that blueprints were missing from an important design proposal, and Ellen suggests that Keith sabotaged his plans. Dr. Hartley calls Ellen to his office and tells her that he believes Jeff is a paranoiac and is unconconsciously committing these destructive acts to punish himself for Vivian's death. After leaving the doctor's office, Ellen is nearly run over by a car similar to Jeff's. Later that night, Ellen follows Jeff outside and sees him siphoning gas out of his car, and the next morning, Jeff is found unconscious. At the hospital, Jeff tells Ellen that he never intended to die, and that he drained the gas tank so that if she did not show up on time, the car would stop running on its own. Upon leaving the hospital, Jeff does research to determine the owner of the other faded portrait, and learns it was Ben. When confronted, Ben admits to tormenting Jeff, whom he blames for killing Vivian. Just then, Ellen bursts into Ben's office with a witness to the accident, who says that Keith, not Jeff, was driving that night. Jeff recalls what happened the night of the accident: Vivian and her married lover, Keith, decided to run away together, and Jeff followed them as Keith drove recklessly along the treacherous 12-Mile Drive. After the crash, Jeff told Keith to take his car and leave, hoping to spare Ben the truth about his daughter's death. Now, in his grief, Ben hallucinates that Ellen is Vivian and tells her that her mother, who left him long ago, was no good either. He pulls a gun and shoots at them, wounding Jeff in the arm before he is subdued. Later, as they are walking on the beach, Jeff declares his love for Ellen. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.