After a successful start churning out Poverty Row quickies, Joseph H. Lewis directed My Name Is Julia Ross as his first film at Columbia. It established proved so popular that the studio soon promoted it to A-feature status. It’s a low budget film and only 64 minutes long, but it packs plenty of melodrama in its tight-fisted grip.
Julia Ross has been struggling to find work in London. A new talent agency is happy to learn that she has no family and boyfriend, so they recommend her as the secretary to wealthy widow Mrs. Williamson Hughes (May Whitty, The Lady Vanishes, Gaslight).
After the very first evening of her work, she wakes up far from London in a Cornish mansion, having been drugged. Now, Mrs. Hughes and her volatile son Ralph (George Macready, Gilda and the narrator of Count Yorga, Vampire) want her to believe that she’s Ralph’s wife Marion. Everything she owns has been destroyed, the windows barred and the staff and locals have all convinced that she has mental problems.
Julia writes a letter to her only close friend and admirer, Dennis Bruce (Roland Varno, the father of Martin Varno, author of the 1958’s Night of the Blood Beast). but it seems like the Hughes family is ahead of her at every single turn. Her doctors and even the police are in on the scheme.
One night, Julia discovers a secret passage and overhears Ralph explain to his mother that he murdered his wife once she exposed his shady business dealings. He threw her body in the sea and now he wants to kill Julia and make it look like a suicide.
Will Julia escape? Is she really Ralph’s wife? Is everyone really against her? Oh the drama! If you’ve seen this movie before, you may have seen the 1987 remake, Dead of Winter, which starred Mary Steenbergen and Roddy Mcdowell.
Arrow Video did their usual amazing job with this presentation, including a new high def 1080p version of the film, commentary by film noir and Lewis experts, as well as the original theatrical trailer.
DISCLAIMER: We were sent this film by its PR agency, but that has no impact on this review.