By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –
Hedy Lamarr was one of the most beautiful and versatile actresses that Hollywood has ever known. She has played a variety of roles ranging from Joan of Arc in The Story of Mankind (1957) to Delilah in Samson and Delilah (1949). With such beauty and talent, it would seem very strange that Lamarr would have the starring role in a film called The Strange Woman (1946). Nevertheless, Lamarr is definitely the star of this Film Noir classic.
Because of Hedy Lamarr’s undeniable beauty, she radiates throughout the entire film. She might have been in a role as the plain and ordinary-named “Jenny,” but Jenny looks fantastic as a strange and manipulative woman in 1820s New England. Lamarr wears beautiful costumes throughout the picture, and she executes the role very well by bringing Jenny Hager to life out of the pages of Ben Ames Williams’s original novel. This film really is one of Hedy Lamarr’s best films.
In spite of Lamarr’s strong presence on-screen, there is a major plot hole in this film. Jenny Hager is a character born in Bangor, Maine, but her character has a strong Austrian accent. That is a type of plot hole that has occurred numerous times in film history because filmmakers have a tendency to cast stars with big names in order to attract audiences. Even with that slight error in casting a major star, her portrayal of Jenny is still one of Hedy Lamarr’s best film performances.
Film Noir was very popular in the 1940s. It led to some great cinematic achievements, like The Maltese Falcon (1941), as well as some mediocre pictures like Guest in the House (1944). Hedy Lamarr had many strong roles during the 1940s and 1950s, and this film contains some of her best work. It might not be one of the greatest films in the film-noir genre, but it is still an interesting film about the roles that women play in society as a whole. Jenny Hager might not be the most admirable character in both literary and film history, but it did allow Hedy Lamarr to showcase her acting skills.
The Strange Woman (1946) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever there is water on-screen (including rain and rivers)
Take a Drink: every times the characters say the name “Mr. Poster.”
Drink a Shot: every time Jenny is mentioned by name