Despite recently learning from the amazing podcast You Must Remember This that Barbara Stanwyck and husband Robert Taylor were staunch conservatives — with Taylor famous for naming names and stating the he wanted to send all communists in Hollywood “back to Russia!” — I still can’t get enough of Stanwyck on screen, both in comedies and noir.
This Sunday, we’ll watch one of the less well-known Stanwyck noir pictures. Although the film is well reviewed, she’s not the heartless and/or damaged femme fatale of pictures like Double Indemnity and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. Instead, Stanwyck plays a down-on-her-luck woman, left pregnant and penniless by a heartless thug (Lyle Bettger). When he gives her train fare to leave town, our suffering heroine ends up in a train crash where she is mistaken for the widow of a kind, wealthy man. The family has never seen their son’s wife, and before she knows it, poor Helen Ferguson is taken for Patrice Harkness and made part of the family. The Harknesses can raise junior as a happy, wealthy boy with a “name,” even if it is a lie. Then there’s her “brother-in-law,” the dead man’s sibling, and it starts to seem like love between them. Further complications arise when the old thug learns the gal he dumped now has money and it’s time for blackmail.
What’s a girl to do?!
Find out on Sunday, 3/20 at 9pm et when we live tweet No Man of Her Own (1950) as our #BNoirDetour feature!