“The lips of a strange woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil... But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword!”
In life you may have heard to never trust beautiful people. I guess in a way it could be true because the world, especially here in the U.S of A, worships the beautiful and wants everything about them. I guess you should not trust beautiful people because they could seduce others into doing things for them and manipulate others. The 1946 film Strange Woman deals with a woman from the late 1800s who was one such type of beautiful person that no one should ever have trusted.
Ever since Jenny Heger (Hedy Lemarr) was young she could always get her way. As a girl she told her drunken father that she would become rich and wear nice clothes. When she is older Jenny likes to flirt with all the men who come in to work in the town lumber mill. Her father is still an awful drunk and beats her one night. He collapses and Jenny runs to her neighbor Isaiah Poster’s house for safety. Isaiah and two other men discuss what they are going to do with Jenny. They cannot just release her onto the town her reputation is not good enough for everyone’s charity. They decide that Jenny will marry Isaiah even though he has a young son Jenny’s age.
Isaiah’s son Ephraim comes home from school. He does not trust himself with Jenny and for good reason since she is gorgeous. Of course Jenny is not happy being married to an old man and immediately begins to work her seductiveness on Ephraim. Isaiah comes close to dying when he comes down with a bad fever. When it is announced that Isaiah will be ok Jenny just nervously laughs. Isaiah becomes angry with his wife and son. He knows Jenny is not happy being married to him.
Because I paid such awesome attention to this film somehow Ephraim makes the small canoe he and his father some of the lumber workers tip over and Isaiah drowns. And I am not sure if Jenny was in it on it or not but she becomes an uber bitch and blames him when he comes home after the “accident”.
It is not long until Jenny has her claws into John Evered (George Sanders), Isaiah’s foreman. They do love each other and are happy together until Jenny hears a sermon at church about beautiful women and them being evil. Jenny takes that sermon to heart and it goes to head. She kind of goes a little nuts and confesses to John that she and Ephraim had worked to kill Isaiah.
Eventually Jenny goes a little nuts and dies after driving her carriage a little too fast and hitting a rock and the carriage goes over a cliff side.
I was not too crazy about Strange Woman. Hedy Lemarr and George Sanders were great but the story and their characters were not good. I was bored with the story almost right from the beginning which never bodes well with how I perceive the rest of the film (plus, I have ADHD and if something does not grab a hold of my attention quickly it spells disaster). I think Strange Woman as a Film Noir is interesting because it is set in the 1800s and not the present time of the 1940s. Jenny Heger was definitely a femme fatale with the way she used her seduction and how she used men to her advantage. I am not too familiar with Hedy Lemarr’s filmography so I am not sure if she was ever in any other Noirs, if she was not I would have really liked to have seen her as a traditional 1940s femme fatale. I must confess I have wanted to watch Strange Woman because of the poster. It was drawn in the surrealist style and I thought it would be a screw-with-your-mind type film and I was sorely let down.
I will only say to watch Strange Woman if you really like Film Noirs or if you like Hedy Lemarr otherwise skip it.