The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry

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Though less deliriously noir than Siodmak's best work (Phantom Lady, The Killers, Cry of the City) this rather Hitchcockian smalltown thriller, produced by the Englishman's former associate Joan Harrison, is a typically impressive psychological study in various forms of obsession. Sanders is both superb and unusually touching as the shy, naive designer who falls for Raines, newly arrived from the city; Allgood and Fitzgerald are the sisters he lives with, the latter a scheming hypochondriac so possessive of her brother that she'll do anything to wreck his budding romance. A relatively conventional story is lent depth and originality by Siodmak's sense of detail and mood; Raines literally introduces colour into Sanders' life by daubing paint on his pedantically minaturist floral illustrations, while his repressed romanticism is evoked through his obsession with astrology. Sadly. Siodmak was saddled with an ending that undercuts the dark emotions preceeding it, but the overall effect is still gripping, intelligent, and oddly critical of staid petit bourgeois aspirations.

By: GA

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