When Strangers Marry (1944): Into the seething labyrinth

When Strangers Marry (aka Betrayed 1944)

The noir city in all its desperate foreboding: a dancing sign flashes in an angel’s face.  An angel innocent and afraid yet ventures into the seething labyrinth with a stranger, her husband, running from capture into the city of entrapment.

You trust no-one, fear the worst, and blunder from one dead-end into another.  Dark faces and sharp dressers in sinister doorways.  Share a cab with a bawling waif, a dying woman on borrowed time, and a suspicious driver.  Stop! Get out!  Onto dark streets, smoke-filled dives, cafés on the edge of purgatory, and hellish rooms for rent.  A young girl in pig-tails as likely to betray you as the mother with arms folded in menace then her cold hand out for payment in advance.  Nowhere left to run.  The rented room a cell you can’t leave.

“I didn’t do it.” You believe him, why did he run?

They find you anyway, and take him away.

Where to now? The loyal ex, the nice guy you rejected with his pipe and his dog. He’ll know. Back to the hotel.  A letter sent too early, an echo of another to be sent, waiting for you.  What does it mean? Turn around fast. The street is a long way down. Run.  The beau doesn’t, it’s all cool. Packs his bag, stuffs an envelope, and mails it at the lift-well while the inquisitive cop isn’t looking.  He can’t sweat it though, he panics, it all falls down, and the new letter bursts open with the truth.

5 thoughts on “When Strangers Marry (1944): Into the seething labyrinth”

  1. Hi! Tony,
    I have never watched When Stranger Marry,” but this synopsis is very detailed and very well written.
    After reading your synopsis…It sent me running to find out if “My man in Havana, and not Canada” have a copy on his list and lo and behold he does…Therefore, I plan to try and get my hands on a copy next month. (I ‘am not quite sure if this film is available on DVD yet??? 🙄 )
    Thanks, for sharing!

    By the way, I have two questions to ask you, about a film and WordPress…That is if you, don’t mind me sending you an email.

    DeeDee 🙂


  2. Well, thanks for the lead-in, as I will be seeing this (as mentioned) at the Film Forum. Most critics and audiences believe it to be Castle’s finest work, somewhat apart from his campy horror films.


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