[box cover]

Strange Impersonation

Strange Impersonation never quite lives up to its brilliant tag line: "Hell hath no fury as a woman scalded by acid." The story of Nora Goodrich (Brenda Marshall) — an ambitious scientist who puts her career before her love life and pays the price — is really anything but hard-boiled. After wowing colleagues with her theories, Nora decides, with the help of her assistant Arlene (Hillary Brooke), to test a revolutionary anesthetic at her apartment rather than wade through the red tape of a clinical trial. Once Nora is sedated, Arlene's secret jealousy over Nora's suitor is revealed and Arlene disfigures her boss with a concentration of the inexplicably explosive and acidic anesthetic. Such early campy noir moments like these are fairly entertaining, but director Anthony Mann packs them all into the film's beginning. For the remainder, such highlights are replaced by lackluster melodrama, as Nora flees, has her face reconstructed, and returns to take back her life. Sadly, the revenge scenario is slow and unsatisfying, and the campy vibe is all but lost. This Kino Noir DVD presentation looks great, in its natural full-frame 1.37 and 1.0 mono, but the disc lacks extras.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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