STREAMING SATURDAYS! Ann Harding Takes Basil Rathbone’s LOVE FROM A STRANGER
Welcome to another edition of STREAMING SATURDAYS, where we embed a free, fabulous film for you to watch right here!
It would, of course, be sheer madness for a woman to take Love from a Stranger. But what if that stranger was Basil Rathbone?
And what if her alternative was pretty much the Mayor of Drippyville?
That’s the choice facing Ann Harding in this 1937 thriller, scripted by Frances Marion from a short story by Agatha Christie.
Struggling working girl Carol Howard (Harding) wins the lottery—woohoo!—which for some reason is the worst possible news to her dreary fiancé, Ronald (Bruce Seton). Why? For pretty much the same reason that Darren Stevens in Bewitched would rather work for awful old Mr. Tate than let Samantha use her magic powers to make their life fabulous. Stubborn male pride. (Okay, not really sure why I went off on that TV tangent, but it’s always bugged me.)
Bruce and Carol’s engagement buckles under the hideous strain of her good fortune. But she’s not alone for long: Soon a tall, dark, mysterious stranger enters her life. (This is Christie country, remember, where things like that happen.) She quickly falls for and weds him—and in this case, it’s “Marry in haste, repent in terror.”
Love from a Stranger was deftly directed by Rowland Lee, who always brought an air of atmospheric brooding to whatever genre he worked in, be it horror (Tower of London and Son of Frankenstein), period drama (The Count of Monte Cristo and The Bridge of San Luis Rey) or swashbucklers (Captain Kidd and The Three Musketeers). He also had his own 214-acre movie ranch, which served as the setting for the farmhouses in Friendly Persuasion and Night of the Hunter and the amusement park in Strangers on a Train, among others.
This is the best print I could find, and it’s bit crackly, though that seems to suit the mood. I hope it doesn’t interfere with your enjoyment of this nifty little movie.
And while you’re watching, keep an eye out for Joan Hickson in a small role as Emmy the maid. Almost half a century later, she played Christie’s Miss Marple to perfection in the PBS Mystery! series.
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