It looks like working-class charm-school student Barbara Bel Geddes's ship has come in when she's invited to a millionaire's yachting party. She misses the boat but catches the millionaire, and soon our heroine is successfully ensconced in a grim Long Island Gothic mansion, staving off loneliness with pills, waiting for her husband-bitter, driven Robert Ryan-to come home. One of the morals of this darkly ironic Cinderella story is that marrying money may bring a woman security-but prisons are secure, too. It's no surprise that when Bel Geddes tries to trade in the hollow luxury of her married life for the human chaos of James Mason's Lower East Side doctor's office, she meets with formidable resistance from her husband, who says “women are a dime a dozen” but who monomaniacally insists on protecting his investments. Thanks in part to Lee Garmes's deep-focus cinematography, the dream house has rarely looked so sinister.

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