“Strange Illusion” - Noir Murder Mystery Thriller
released on March 31, 1945
running time 1 hour and 25 minutes
The Actors: Jimmy Lydon (Paul Cartwright), Warren William (Brett Curtis), Sally Eilers (Virginia Cartwright, Paul's mother), Regis Toomey (Dr. Vincent), Charles Arnt (Professor Muhlbach), George Reed (Benjamin, family servant), Jayne Hazard (Dorothy Cartwright, Paul's sister), Jimmy Clark (George), Mary McLeod (Lydia), Pierre Watkin (Armstrong), Sonia Sorel (Charlotte Farber, Muhlbach's nurse), Victor Potel (Mac, the game warden), George Sherwood (Langdon), Gene Roth (Sparky), John Hamilton (Bill Allen, banker), Edmund Cobb (police driver), Theresa Harris (the maid), Charles Wagenheim (Tom, Armstrong's assistant)
The Perfect Crime, When Nightmares Come True, or, Hamlet Lives
As I write this in the fall of 2018, Jimmy Lydon, the star of this story, is 95 years old and doing just fine. This movie is his first starring role. Two years after this movie he would appear in the family classic “Life with Father” and fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Taylor would be his comic romantic interest, sitting teasingly on his lap.
After filming that movie, Elizabeth Taylor would get the leading role in a teenage comedy adventure, and Jimmy Lydon would become the first man to kiss the legendary actress on screen. He later commented, “She was strikingly beautiful, and sweet. And she was only 15. I may have looked 18, but I was 23. Come on, we were professionals.”
Jimmy Lydon worked both in front of the camera and behind the camera. His final screen appearance was in an episode of the 1987 television hit “St. Elsewhere,” and behind the camera he helped to create the television shows “77 Sunset Strip,” and “M.A.S.H.” among many others.
In this noir thriller he is the teenage son of a famous judge and criminologist who was killed when his car was hit by a fast-moving train. As our adventure opens he is having a nightmare, . . . a terrible nightmare about his father’s dying moments, with voices and glimpses of scenes that he cannot understand. Then, just as he is telling all of this to his friend Doctor Vincent, he gets a letter in the mail, . . . from his dead father. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
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