WITHOUT HONOR (1949)

 

I discovered this unusual little film on You Tube. At 66 minutes it felt more like a TV drama. With one main set , a small cast and dialogue heavy, it couldn’t have cost much to make – though it stars Laraine Day, Franchot  Tone Agnes Moorehead, Dane Clark , Bruce Bennett.

It has the kind of opening I like. You join the plot and realise that there is quite a back story.

 

Laraine  Day

Laraine Day is Jane Bandle, in her kitchen, cooking a meal and looking like a happy suburban housewife. Then Franchot Tone as Dennis Williams appears and it becomes obvious they are involved in affair whilst both are married to other people.

Dennis is there to tell her that her husband Fred (Bruce Bennett) knows about them, having hired a detective.

Dennis’ s first words to Jane are: “It’s alright. I parked down the street. We’re in a jam and we’ve got to decide what to do.”

But he has already decided – their 6 week affair is over.

Laraine Day, Franchot Tone.

But Jane doesn’t catch on right away, saying : ”We can be open with them and make a clean break.”

All he can say is ,”Persuade your  husband not to make a scandal.”

Melodramatically, Jane responds: I can’t stop loving you. I’d rather be dead. This is a nightmare.”

 

A nightmare indeed for Jane, but it is only just beginning . Before long there is an accident and cover up; her brother in law, Dane Clark as Bill Bandle turns up, having  arranged a little nightmare of his own for Jane whom he despises for rejecting him and marrying his brother.

 

That accident I mentioned – Jane has tried  to kill herself and when Dennis tries to stop her, he winds up being stabbed and falling down in the utility room next to her kitchen.
in a total state of shock, she shuts the door and washes her hands.

 

So, with a body in the house, the evil brother arrives and tells her he has invited Dennis and his wife to come to the house at 5.30 pm (when Jane’s husband is due home!

 

The stage is set as Agnes Moorehead  as Dennis’s wife Katharine arrives.  And then Jane’s husband Fred. They await the missing Dennis.

Bill gloats to Jane: “They’re all gonna be here at 5.30…. now I’m backstage on the curtain cue corner and I am watching the four of you put on the neatest show you  ever saw.”

The door bell rings and Bill continues: “Overture, curtain going up.”

Agnes Moorehead

This plot may sound ripe melodrama but honestly the small cast are all so good and the story is gripping.

A nice change for Agnes Moorehead as the dignified wife , Katharine, who has had enough of her husband’s affairs.  She sets Jane straight: “You see this has happened before – twice. But this time he’s going to realise I know.”     I’m supposed to hate you but I don’t – I think you’re a fool.”

Poor Laraine Day has little,to do except look stunned and shocked. Katharine has some sympathy, saying: “Have you any way of earning your own living?”

 

 

And then Jane’s husband Fred (Bruce Bennett) comes home, bringing with him a  brand new 10” television!

Bill take him outside to tell him what’s going on.( It was Bill who hired a detective.)

Bruce Bennett, Dane Clark

Dane Clark has the biggest role and delivers well as the brother who harbours a hatred for his sister in law .

 

Maybe the best line in the film, as they all wait for Dennis, Jane says, “I’ve been trying to tell you. He’s here. He’s been here all the time.”

As I am writing this, I realise it all sounds ridiculous , but it works!

There is a great twist in the last ten minutes.

And amazingly, Franchot Tone disappears after the first 15 mins of the film! One wonders why he took the role.

I wish it was on dvd, and hope it remains on You Tube for  a while.

 

 

 

Dane Clark

This darkish photo is the last dramatic shot in the film. For all Bill’s machinations, it isn’t a happy ending for him.

 

 

Re-release title.

 

 

 

 

 

6 responses »

  1. Good to know this is available on youtube, to get away from such depressings news on tv. I’m a big Moorehead fan and saw part of this once long ago; have also enjoyed some of the others in it.

  2. I must say I’m surprised you liked this. I watched it recently and though it was awful! Well to each their own. The Laraine Day thriller to watch out for isThe Third Voice with Edmond O’Brien. An insurance scam with a great twist at the end.

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