Sunday, 10 February 2019

My Name Is Julia Ross (1945)

"Well Made Entertaining B Movie Melodrama"

Director Joseph H Lewis' first film for Columbia (after working on poverty row quickies) gets a Blu-ray release form Arrow Academy.

Julia Ross (Nina Foch), living in London and in need of employment, is delighted when she passes a successful job interview to become the new secretary to Mrs Williamson Hughes (Dame May Witty). Unfortunately all is not as it seems, and before Julia has even had a chance to notice that Mrs Hughes' son Ralph (George Macready) has a habit of slashing up girls' nightdresses she's been drugged, kidnapped and finds herself waking up in a bed in Cornwall.

No sooner is poor old Julia awake than she finds she's being called Marion by the staff of the mansion in which she finds herself, and that she's now mad Ralph's wife. What's going on? Why do they want her there? And will she be able to get a letter to handsome Dennis (Roloand Varno) up in London before she meets a similar fate to that which presumably befell the real Marion?

The tried and trusted plot of beautiful girl who ends up a prisoner of a elderly woman and her deranged son is one beloved of pulp thrillers all the way from the Victorian era through to the Pan Book of Horror Stories and beyond. Here director Joseph H Lewis imbues the brisk proceedings (MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS clocks in at 65 minutes) with lashings of style and does wonders with the low budget. The three leads are all excellent, although some of the more minor character roles do come across as rather wooden, but you can't have everything for little money.

Arrow's Blu-ray boasts a splendid transfer. Extras include a commentary track by film historian Alan K Rode and there's a good twenty minute piece from The Nitrate Diva (Nora Fiore) that helps contextualise the movie historically.

Joseph H Lewis' MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS is out on Blu-ray from Arrow Academy on Monday 18th February 2019

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