The Unsuspected (1947)

Genres - Crime, Drama, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |   Release Date - Oct 3, 1947 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Hans J. Wollstein

Poor Joan Caulfield, whom Warner Bros. had borrowed from Paramount, is all at sea playing the mystery woman in The Unsuspected, a pale imitation of Laura (1944). A cast of suspicious characters is once again admiring a portrait of a beautiful dead woman only to have the subject of the painting create havoc by returning very much alive. Like Gene Tierney before her, Caulfield cannot possibly live up to the intriguing buildup, but, unlike Tierney, she doesn't have Clifton Webb to make things interesting and is saddled with Claude Rains in one of his hammiest moods. And while Laura at least survived with some dignity from her ordeal, Joan's Matilda is soundly battered by such scene-stealers as Audrey Totter and, especially,Constance Bennett, who, in describing the venal Miss Totter remarks: "They should take her out more often and beat her like a rug." It is of course a professionally produced, directed, and performed melodrama that the brothers Warner present, but Charlotte Armstrong's original story, serialized in the Saturday Evening Post in 1945, does not exactly bear close scrutiny. Although receiving introduction billing, leading man Michael North had actually appeared in films for at least seven years under the moniker of Ted North.