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No Man of Her Own

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Actors: Barbara Stanwyck, John Lund, Jane Cowl, Lyle Bettger, Phyllis Thaxter
  • Directors: Mitchell Leisen
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, Original recording remastered, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Team Marketing
  • Release Date: Oct. 1 2015
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • ASIN: B006X0ZN3K
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #50,808 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

A woman is torn between a comfortable lie and the painful truth in this classic Film Noir. Screen legend Barbara Stanwyck assumes another woman’s identity after surviving a train accident in this haunting drama based on a Cornell Woolrich (under the pseudonym, William Irish) novel, I Married a Dead Man. Eventually her past catches up to her when her crooked ex-lover (Lyle Bettger) arrives in town, demanding money to keep her true identity a secret. Beautifully photographed by legendary cinematography by Daniel L. Fapp (The Big Clock). Directed by Mitchell Leisen (Midnight).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 158 reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stanwyck was the Greatest! April 5 2012
By a viewer - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I remember first seeing this film as a young teenager on the late show. I'm so glad it has been released on DVD. I won't go into specifics on the story because that has been done by previous reviewers. What I will say is that the DVD transfer is excellent....both sight and sound. Stanwyck was positively the greatest actress of her generation and possibly the greatest actress of all time. So honest, sincere and talented. This film shows her at the peak of her craft....a true artist. The story is engaging and keeps you in suspense from the first moment to the last. Not one wasted reel. Directed by Mitchell Leisen, it is film noir at its best. The interesting thing about this film is that Stanwyck did all her stunts in the train wreck scene, along with Phyllis Thaxter. Jane Cowl is deliciously sympathetic as the grandmother. Lyle Bettger is a true menace and John Lund, though bland, is made to look good by Stanwyck. This is one of her best!!
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mistaken Identity March 30 2012
By Tom S. - Published on
Format: DVD
Barbara Stanwyck had one of her best roles in this solid suspense film. She plays Helen, a pregnant young woman fleeing her worthless lover (Lyle Bettger). On the train out of town, she meets Patrice Harkness (Phyllis Thaxter), a bride of her age and general description, who's on her way with her groom to meet her rich in-laws for the first time. When the train crashes and the newlyweds are both killed, the desperate Helen sees a chance at a new life for herself and her unborn child. So Helen becomes Patrice, and she's accepted by the dead woman's in-laws and taken into their home. Her new "family" is kind to her, and the dead groom's brother (John Lund) even falls for her. Everything's like a dream come true--until the creepy ex-boyfriend shows up with blackmail on his mind...

NO MAN OF HER OWN is based on the novel I Married a Dead Man (The Best Mysteries of All Time) by Cornell Woolrich, and it's one of several great films based on his wonderful stories. Other Woolrich movie adaptations are Rear Window (Universal Legacy Series), The Window [Remaster], Phantom Lady [VHS], and The Bride Wore Black. This film is one of my favorites, and it's much better than the 1996 remake, MRS. WINTERBOURNE, which tried to turn this dark thriller into a comedy. Take my advice and stick with the original. Highly recommended.
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stanwyck as an unwed Mother! Feb. 2 2012
By Hernando DeSoto - Published on
Format: DVD
I remember this as a pretty good melodrama. I believe this is the first time it's has ever been available on home video and I, for one intend to purchase it.


As the film opens, Stanwyck is pregnant. "Baby Daddy" Lyle Bettger throws her out into the street with a one-way ticket out of town. On the train, Barbara meets newlywed Phyllis Thaxter who is is also pregnant and going to see her wealthy in-laws for the first time. At Thaxter's encouragement, Stanwyck tries on Thaxter's wedding ring saying "I think this is supposed to be bad luck" and, lo and behold, the train derails in a spectacular crash. Thaxter and her husband are killed in the crash. Stanwyck is knocked unconscious and the rescuer party assumes that Stanwyck is Thaxter because of Thaxter's ring that Stanwyck is still wearing. Times being what they are, Stanwyck decides to leave well enough alone. Then, Bettger shows up again with extortion on his mind. It's a good melodrama and I can't wait to see it again.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barbara Stanwyck finds her strength Oct. 23 2013
By Muzzlehatch - Published on
Format: DVD
It takes a great cast, director, crew and screenplay to turn a hoary story idea like this: a woman impersonating another (dead) woman, becoming part of the dead woman's family, and then getting visited by her dark and shady past - and turn it into something close to a masterpiece. Fortunately, director and uncredited contributor to the screenplay Mitchell Leisen, screenwriters Sally Benson and Catherine Turney (adapting a Cornell Woolrich novel), and principal cast Barbara Stanwyck, John Lund, Phyllis Thaxter, Jane Cowl and Lyle Bettger are around to perform the miracle, and make this into a seminal woman-in-danger noir.

As the film begins, the pregnant Stanwyck character is thrown over by scumbag boyfriend Bettger, and given a trainride out of town. On the train she meets a sympathetic couple, also about to have a child, and the woman lets her try on her wedding ring while they are in the ladies' room. You know what's going to happen now don't you? Well, if you can't guess I won't spoil it. In any case, Stanwyck is soon mistakenly adopted into a new family with her new baby, but it's a rich family, and somehow slimy Bettger finds out... Stanwyck is just marvellous in a role that calls for a lot of bewilderment and uncertainty, and only a gradual show of the kind of strength that the actress demonstrated time and again; Lund is excellent as the sympathetic brother-in-law who wants to be more, and Bettger, wow, what a great creep. There's a bit of great location work at a train station which combines strikingly well with the Paramount sets used for the rest of it, and a lovely Olde New England stuffiness is beautifully communicated to contrast with the more modern and "liberated" Stanwyck character.

The Olive DVD is pretty solid looking except for a bad patch about ten minutes before the end that's a bit grainy and hissy; no extras at all, not even a trailer. So not the greatest noir or Stanwyck release ever in terms of disc quality, but is there likely to be any kind of upgrade? I wouldn't count on it, and the film is great enough that it's worth getting regardless.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great acting overcomes some so-so writing Oct. 23 2012
By faience - Published on
Format: DVD
I'm another one delighted to see this film finally appear on DVD. Both the critical and the positive reviews make good points, but there are 3 big things that are terrific about this movie. Just understand going in that, largely because of production codes of the time, a fairly dark noir novel became pretty much a chick flick.

Main character Helen is, as some have pointed out, too inclined to let men use her, and to beg, but the character has lived a hard-knock life with hints of emotional deprivation. She's plausible, if not exactly a feminist role model.

First big plus is the well-dressed set, a wealthy yet cozy middle American home. It has to evoke prosperity, without ostentation or the comedic coolness of, say, the `My Man Godfrey' kind of set. It's a house built by the Harkness family with good hardworking American values, via Harkness Textiles. At first sight I wanted to move in myself.

Stanwyck brings tense, conflicted dignity to a role that has to stay afloat among waves of melodrama without getting swamped. Try to imagine any other actress in this role. There aren't many! The plot is well-paced and tight, but some bits where she repeats a phrase over and over in inner torment ("It isn't too late, I can still back out!" 5 times!) are quite grating and Stanwyck makes them only just bearable. Co-screenwriter Sally Benson, better known for lighter work, shows there a weakness in her ability to translate noir from novel to screenplay, though the director bears some responsibility for the way these passages are overplayed. But the vital scenes following each suspect during the commission of the crime are beautifully put together, clear yet subtle enough that you have to pay attention.

And another perfect note, really, the linchpin of the movie, is struck by too-little-known actress Jane Cowl as matriarch Grace Harkness. A wonderful, wonderful performance, as a grieving, loving, warm woman who indeed becomes the only real mother Helen has ever known.

The first glimpse these 2 women have of each other seals the plot. Helen, at first, assumes Patrice's identity for her child's sake, but quickly finds that she absolutely cannot break her "mother-in-law's" heart, which would happen if Helen revealed that she isn't the real Patrice and that Grace has lost not only her son but his unborn child.

Helen is one of the worst identity-thieves ever, showing that she's too innately honest to pull it off, and her brother-in-law has her number almost immediately. But affection for and desire to protect his mother stops him from exposing Helen's deception, which in turn gives him time to begin falling for Helen himself. So Cowl, as Grace, pretty much drives the story. If the rest of it is too, as Maltin called it, "turgid" for you, you can watch the film for Cowl alone.

Woolrich's original plot was complex, full of darkness and ambiguity. In simplifying the story for the film morals code of the day, it loses a lot, but the suspense is well-crafted and the contrast between Helen's lousy previous relationship and this new, loving home makes it plausible that she'd want to embrace it and rationalize doing so.

But read the book too. (Cornell Woolrich's `I Married a Dead Man`, written under his William Irish pseudonym). Used copies are readily available, and a reprint is coming in 2013. Despite its same (up to a point) plot and many passages put straight into the screenplay unchanged, it's still a whole different experience.

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