MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS. Columbia Pictures, 1945. Nina Foch, Dame May Whitty, George Macready, Roland Varno, Anita Bolster. Based on the book The Woman in Red by Anthony Gilbert. Cinematographer: Burnett Guffey. Director: Joseph H. Lewis.

   A young woman in London, alone except for the landlady and a maid at her rooming house, and barely one male acquaintance, and needing money to pay the rent, finds what seems to be the perfect job – as a secretary/companion to a wealthy woman in the country. It quickly turns out to be not so perfect, though, as when she wakes up in her new residence, she discovers that she is essentially a prisoner and unable to leave the premises. She is also called by a new name and described to the servants as well to the local townspeople as recovering from a serious illness and often delusional.

   As a premise for a tale to present-day audience, it’s one that’s hard to swallow, but once persuaded that yes, such a situation could happen (and even more so back in 1945), it’s a lot easier to start wondering instead what her captors (the somewhat looney tunes mother and son – a perfectly cast Dame May Whitty and George Macready) want with her, and more importantly, how she can get away from their tightly enforced grip.

   All her attempts to escape or letting anyone else know she’s being held a prisoner end in failure, until – well, I won’t tell. Why should I? There’s no need to, I suppose, for one thing. It’s a minor tale, all in all, with only 65 minutes of running time. Anything longer than that then any of the suspension of disbelief you’ve invested in it fade away very very quickly. An hour plus is about as long as it could (should) have been, and it was.

Added Later: I watched this online on The Criterion Channel, where I found it in their current “Gothic Noir” collection.  Is it Gothic? Definitely yes. Is it Noir? I’m not so sure about that. The story line has nothing to do with “noir” as applied to the written word. But if “noir” is taken to apply to moody, well-photographed black-and-white crime films, then yes.