Strange Woman, The

2012.THE STRANGE WOMAN (1946-USA). WITH hedy lamarr, George sanders, louis hayward, gene lockhart, hillary brooke. DIRECTED BY edgar ulmer. Absorbing, highly-charged drama of oozing passion and sexuality which in its own modest way quite daring for its time. It tells the story of Jenny Hager, a young girl coming of age in 19lh-centui Bangor, Maine, Jenny is the daughter of a hopeless drunk who has been labeled a “disgrace to Bangor” and whose wife had deserted him for another man. Even as a little girl, Jenny is an over aggressive and strong-willed shrew, “Just as soon as I grow up we’ll have everything we want because I’m going to be beautiful,” she brags to her father. She does in fact age into a beauty, and played with a combination of fierce determination and wanton abandon by stunning Hedy Lamarr. With regard to men, Jenny exclaims, “I don’t want the youngest. I want the richest.” The scenario highlights her relationships with a trio of men who fit into one or the other category. First thereÕs middle-aged Isiah Poster, the respectable and wealthy businessman who lusts after her. Then thereÕs Isiah’s son Ephraim, the gentlemanly but fearful architect who comes lo love her. Finally thereÕs decent and sensible John Evered (nicely played by George Sanders, cast against type), who may be set to wed Jenny’s best friend but who nonetheless falls under her spell. The film primarily serves as riveting character portrait of Jenny, a woman who knows only how to flirt with and bring out the worst in men. Perhaps all she wishes is to transcend her roots and become a “proper lady.” Only she does not quite know how to go about this because, as one of the characters casually notes, “SheÕs grown too beautiful for her own good.” The film is stylishly directed by Edgar Ulmer, one of the American cinemaÕs all-time great cult directors. Influential film critic Georges Sadoul has described Ulmer as a “filmmaker with a love of the cinema and great taste and sensibility.” That love and taste are ever so apparent here. 89 minutes. Drama