Another Man's Poison (1951)

Genres - Crime, Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Crime Thriller  |   Release Date - Nov 20, 1951 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - UK  |  
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No one will ever accuse Another Man's Poison of being a great film, but it's certainly an entertaining one, especially for those who relish Bette Davis' more over-the-top performances. While certainly nothing to compare with her turn in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, the star's work here is a delicious mixture of consummate skill and sheer camp. That latter adjective is in no way meant as a criticism; Davis was working here with material that needed a "kick in the pants" approach. Poison has one of those scripts that can be enjoyed on a solely mechanical level, meaning that its plot twists and turns are fun but in no way relate to real life and that it is populated with characters that exist only on the stage or screen rather than in real life (and behave in a manner similarly unlike real life). Emlyn Williams understands this, and his performance, while quite different from Davis', is on the same plain of existence. This is not true of Gary Merrill's, whose work is far too dull. Irving Rapper seems to have his hands full just keeping some sort of lid on Davis, and so the rest of the film wanders a bit. But whenever Davis is around, it certainly catches fire.